THE STANDING SENATE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE

EVIDENCE


OTTAWA, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 10 a.m. to study on issues related to the Defence Policy Review presently being undertaken by the government.

Senator Daniel Lang (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Welcome to the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence for Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Before we begin, I would like to introduce the people around the table.

My name is Dan Lang, senator for Yukon. On my immediate left is the clerk of the committee, Adam Thompson. I would invite each senator to introduce themselves and state the region they represent, starting with the deputy chair.

Senator Jaffer: My name is Mobina Jaffer, and I am from British Columbia.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Jean-Guy Dagenais from Quebec.

[English]

Senator Day: Joseph Day, New Brunswick.

Senator Beyak: Lynn Beyak, Ontario. Welcome.

The Chair: Today, we'll be meeting for five hours to consider issues related to the defence policy review initiated by the government.

On April 21, 2016, the Senate authorized our committee to examine and report on issues related to the defence policy review presently being undertaken by the government. We are considering issues around Canada's possible participation in future United Nations peace support operations as well as other issues related to the review.

Joining us on our first panel of the day are officials from the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Major-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander, Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre; and Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Healey, Commander, Peace Support Training Centre.

The Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre headquarters provides strategic staff support to the commander, Canadian Army, and staff support to the formation commander. The strategic staff comprises the Directorate of Army Doctrine; the Directorate of Army Training; the Army Lessons Learned Centre; the Directorate of Lands Synthetic Environment; and the Army Digitization Office Kingston. Although located in Kingston, these organizations function as full-fledged members of the Canadian Army headquarters, which is located in Ottawa. The formation comprises most staff functions normally found at a headquarters and includes personnel, operations, logistics, communications, finances and public affairs.

The Peace Support Training Centre is a joint agency multinational training establishment located in Kingston, Ontario. It offers training to Canadian Armed Forces personnel as well as additional governmental sectors and foreign military members to prepare them for deployment to full-spectrum operations within the current military operating environment. Formally established in December 2000, the Peace Support Training Centre currently has 60 staff members and trains approximately 1,000 individuals every year. Examples of courses include pre-deployment training, hazardous environmental training, civil-military cooperation and psychological operations.

Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. I understand you each have an opening statement. Please begin.

Major-General Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander, Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you very much for providing Lieutenant-Colonel Healey and myself the opportunity to talk about the Peace Support Training Centre. You have introduced what the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre is.

I am responsible for all land operations training in the Canadian Army. I synchronize training with doctrine technology and operations. As you alluded to, the functional areas for which I'm responsible include individual training, collective training, professional military education, simulation, doctrine and lessons learned. It is that portfolio put together that allows us to prepare our soldiers and leaders for the missions we ask of them.

Lieutenant-Colonel Healey is responsible for all activities and training conducted by the Peace Support Training Centre.

My opening remarks will provide you with an overview of what the PSTC does and what it is. Later, if that is acceptable, we will tag team to answer your questions. As a general officer, I know a little about a lot but not much about specific things. That's why I have got him here, to provide me that depth.

Senator Day: We understand that.

The Chair: We have a lot in common.

[Translation]

The Canadian Armed Forces must be fully capable of operating across the full spectrum of operations. They must be equally able to conduct war fighting, peace enforcement, peacekeeping, provide humanitarian assistance, and often, a number of these simultaneously. This dynamic and complex environment dictates the requirement for the best and most comprehensive training possible.

Canada’s Peace Support Training Centre or PSTC is a joint, inter-agency and multinational training establishment, nested in the Canadian Army. It provides specific, individual training to prepare selected members of the Canadian Armed Forces, other government departments and foreign military personnel for full spectrum operations. Located at Canadian Forces Base Kingston, PSTC’s staff of 58 personnel consists of all three environments, Army, Navy, and Air Force, from both the Regular and Reserve Force.

[English]

While it was officially stood-up in 2000, in fact its original stand-up was in July 1996. The original role of the PSTC was to deliver pre-deployment training to Canadian Armed Forces members and to others selected for peace support operations, as well as to provide peace support operations training assistance to Canadian and other foreign organizations.

Their signature course is the United Nations Military Expert on Mission course. It is an accredited course by the United Nations. It has been accredited since 1998. It trains selected personnel for deployment with the United Nations as military observers, liaison officers or staff officers in headquarters. We conduct three iterations of that course each year. It is open to both Canadian Armed Forces personnel and members of foreign militaries.

Since April 1, 2015, we have trained a total of 109 military personnel, that is, 85 Canadians and 24 foreign military personnel, during six iterations of that course.

[Translation]

In July 2004, PSTC was assigned additional Centre of Excellence and individual training responsibilities for Information Operations, Psychological Operations and Civil-military Cooperation. A Centre of Excellence is an organization designated to control the development of training. PSTC currently conducts six courses related to its Centre of Excellence Responsibilities. Last year, PSTC trained 261 Canadian Armed Forces members and 63 foreign military personnel on these courses.

Of note, PSTC also has a Memorandum of Understanding with Global Affairs Canada to deliver Hazardous Environment Training to foreign affairs personnel and Heads of Mission. This five-day training package was delivered to 170 personnel last year.

[English]

It is, as I mentioned earlier, a complex and very dynamic and ever-changing environment and we are continuously evolving. The training we deliver reflects the requirements of that ever-changing operational environment.

Specifically, we've expanded our training curriculum to reflect the United Nations' mandated training requirements related to gender, peace and security, sexual exploitation and abuse, children and armed conflict, conflict-related sexual violence, and other relevant human rights issues.

The peace support website provides unclassified information for anyone deploying to various Canadian operations around the globe. The intent of the website is to include material from the Canadian Armed Forces, other government departments and close allies in order to provide relevant and timely information for personnel deploying overseas on missions.

We also have a contract with the Peace Operations Training Institute to provide online United Nations training for all Canadian Armed Forces and other government department personnel. The Peace Operations Training Institute is a public charity based in the U.S. It provides globally accessible distance learning courses on peace support, humanitarian relief and security operations.

[Translation]

Their curriculum, which is in use at national peace training centres worldwide, fulfils many training needs, including preparing for deployment to a peacekeeping mission, increasing effectiveness in the field, complementing study in the classroom, and increasing insight and knowledge of the UN system.

As part of its efforts to keep pace with the contemporary operating environment, PSTC endeavours to remain connected with deployed and returning personnel to capture lessons learned. PSTC also maintains active relationships with other international and domestic training establishments and institutions in the fields of Peace Support Operations, Civil-military Cooperation, Information Operations and Psychological Operations. By maintaining currency and relevance, PSTC maintains a sound intellectual base and subsequently delivers the best possible training.

[English]

The PSTC is an internationally recognized training centre, and as such the centre supports the Department of Defence's global strategy to achieve the Government of Canada's strategic objective in three key ways. First, we participate in a multitude of forums throughout the world. For peace operations, we attend the annual International Association of Peacekeeping Training Centres conference. It will be held in Sarajevo this year, and Lieutenant-Colonel Healey will be departing on Friday to attend that conference.

We also attend the Association of Asia-Pacific Peace Operations Training Centers conference, the Latin American Association of Training Centers for Peace conference, and we attend a multitude of NATO events to discuss peace support operations, information operations, psychological operations and civilian-military cooperation.

Second, we send our instructors to other nations to assist with the delivery of their training and to build their capacity. For example, in the last 18 months, we've sent instructors to Australia, Chile, Colombia, Germany, Guatemala, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S., so quite a footprint.

Finally, we support other nations by hosting foreign instructors and candidates at PSTC. That is a win-win for Canada. It helps build the foreign capacity of our allies, and it currently enriches our own delivery of training by leveraging the expertise, knowledge and experience of other nations. Over the past year we've hosted 24 instructors and 75 students from 30 different countries.

[Translation]

I would be remiss if I did not also note that PSTC has also conducted university-focused professional development and training in Kingston in support of Queen’s University, Bishop’s University and the University of Toronto.

In conclusion, I would like to highlight that the Peace Support Training Centre has a longstanding history of excellence in providing UN-certified training at the tactical level and has successfully achieved both operational and strategic impact through its domestic and international partnerships.

[English]

Thank you for giving us the opportunity this morning to present to you PSTC. We are ready for your questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much.

Colleagues, I'd like to set the stage, if I could. We have had a number of days of hearings and there have been a number of questions in reference to army doctrine or the question of engagement and what governs our Armed Forces when they are deployed internationally. I just want to ask a general question so we can get it on the record.

General Lanthier, what changes to the army doctrine have been made as a result of the previous failures that we've witnessed as Canadians in UN missions in the past in Rwanda, Somalia and the former Yugoslavia? What has changed in the army doctrine that will best protect our troops and the men and women who are deployed, if deployed?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Thank you for the question.

Two key documents govern peace support operations in general. The first one is the Canadian Armed Forces joint doctrine on peace support operations. The last update of that doctrine was made in 2002 and really looked at the contribution to different missions over time. Certainly the conflict in Yugoslavia from 1992 to the early 2000s provided us with a very wide breadth of experience. We've learned what is needed as a mandate. We better understand the rules of engagement that are necessary to support the mandate. As higher level mandates are defined, rules of engagement, or ROEs, are prepared and staffed down and then promulgated to the troops. That then is encapsulated in that doctrine.

At the army level, which I am responsible for, the peace operations support field doctrine has also been updated as recently as 2009. We've done that again by looking at all of the missions and through the process of validation of the missions, deployment and return, and encapsulated those lessons. How do we protect civilians? How do we ensure that the conduct of our soldiers reflects the values and interests of Canada?

There is strict training on the code of conduct and the 11 associated rules on the Canadian Armed Forces ethics and ethos that permeates the profession of arms. All of that has formally become part of the training curriculum.

Our training regimen is also much more complex. We work with a plan, which is then encapsulated in an army direction. That's how we've captured those lessons learned. We have had the introspection to allow us to be able to move forward and really deliver on the mandate the Government of Canada gives us.

The Chair: Colleagues, if I can just pursue this with one follow-up.

Do I take it, for the record, that the army doctrine that has been updated up to 2002 and subsequent, that those particular principles agreed to within our military are not negotiable with respect to our deploying in another international forum? In other words, the United Nations or any other institution cannot ask us to change what we believe our personnel are permitted and shall do in certain cases if things were to go awry.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Absolutely, sir. The law of armed conflict in general — the protocol is The Hague and Geneva protocols — are non-negotiable. They're internationally recognized and we adhere to those.

Unique to the Canadian Armed Forces, our code of conduct is clearly enshrined. The UN has its own code of conduct, and ours is certainly as rigid, if not in certain cases more rigid, and is strictly followed.

The Chair: I want to pursue this because this is very important. They say they have rules, and then we learn that in certain incidents in other countries around the world, they have run into significant difficulties because those individuals representing the United Nations aren't necessarily doing what they are supposed to be doing under the rules.

So my question is: What rules apply? Do our rules apply or do the United Nations’ rules apply? Then who is responsible?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: The Canadian Armed Forces’ rules apply to the Canadian Armed Forces. The United Nations’ rules apply to the overall contingent. Whichever is the highest standard is always what is applied.

As far as misconduct by a specific nation is concerned, if we take sexual exploitation, for example, there are clear parameters in UN resolutions that clearly define the conduct that is acceptable and the actions and repercussions of not following this. So if a contingent, for example, is not respecting that code, there are mechanisms to withdraw the entire contingent, and those are the mechanisms under the UN rules to ensure compliance to that code of conduct.

The Chair: I could pursue that, but I will start with Senator Jaffer.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your presentations here today. Can I get a bit of clarification before I ask my questions? The Pearson centre is gone. Is that why you contracted with the U.S.?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: No, two very different mandates. PSTC is concentrated on the tactical level of training. The Pearson peacekeeping centre was at the operational and strategic level, conducting non-UN accredited courses. One the reasons that the PCC eventually disappeared in 2002 when the audit was done is there was not a requirement at that time to train Canadian personnel, and the centre was mostly training foreign personnel funded by Canada. That was one of the reasons that the PCC went the way it did.

So there are different mandates, different perspectives and different requirements.

Senator Jaffer: Why was it not training Canadians?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: In 2002 there was no requirement. The PSTC was doing part of that training. We were using other institutions to train, so there was not a requirement. As of 2002, we started to shift towards Afghanistan, and that carried out until 2014.

Senator Jaffer: What you're saying is we were working more with NATO than with the United Nations.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Afghanistan was, in fact, the main effort. You're right.

Senator Jaffer: That's why we were not working with Pearson, right? Now that we are looking again at peace operations, there is a need for something like the Pearson centre.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is a need, but I’m not going to say for exactly what the peacekeeping centre was offering.

I attended a conference yesterday at Global Affairs. Honourable Gareth Evans and Honourable Roméo Dallaire were discussing the topics of middle power and peace support operations. What is clear is we need a place where the different partners, whether it's police, military, NGOs, other agencies or the corporate world, in some cases, need to have a joint doctrine, a whole-of-government, a whole-of-nation doctrine where we know each other's strengths, know how we conduct business, and are able to contribute to the edification of what we call a comprehensive approach to a problem.

The example of operations in Afghanistan speaks very loudly to it. We had an outstanding relationship with then DFATD and CIDA. We had the policy adviser and the development adviser embedded into the operations, and we had those intimate relationships over the better part of 10 years. When the campaign in Afghanistan stopped, that relationship slowly subsided because there was not an operational impetus.

When the next mission comes up, we will need to restart and relearn some of the lessons we've learned the hard way. I believe there needs to be a forum of some sort to allow the whole of government to work together and get to know each other. This is not a pick-up game. It has to be rather deliberate in its approach to maximize the objectives we're seeking.

Senator Jaffer: In Afghanistan — everyone here knows, but just because we have people watching — our involvement was through NATO, not through the UN.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It was a NATO mission as of 2006.

Senator Jaffer: We have had many witnesses before and also in the last few days saying Canada is not ready to take on peacekeeping operations for many reasons. There is the UN doctrine, the political and diplomatic aspects of the mission, the negotiation and mediation skills, and the list goes on. Knowing how well you prepare, I'm sure you've heard this being said. Are we ready?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: My view is different than some others. I am responsible for land operations training. The way we prepare our troops is through a very extensive three-year cycle. I'm sorry to go through the mechanics, but it's important to understand why we do what we do and how I believe we are ready to do whatever the government asks us to do.

Basically, for an entire year a brigade and a division — so about 10,000 people — are preparing and doing all the individual training courses, training as a cohesive group, culminating to a brigade-level exercise in the month of May at our Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre. That's about 5,000 people we train for the entire set of missions, including combat operations, and that's the focus that allows them then to move in a generic fashion to any mission.

Once we have a known mission in what I call a "theatre of operation" — so we know the geography, the culture, the exact mandate mission and the rules of engagement that will govern the rules of force — then we do what we call "theatre mission specific training." That's usually a few weeks, and that really focuses the training, which is very global, on a specific region so we are ready and can react to all contingencies. We have to keep a high threshold of training at all times to be able to react quickly because otherwise we're irrelevant.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Mr. Lanthier, I would like to ask you about what you referred to as "international knowledge to prepare members of the military".

I know it might be difficult to answer this question, but do you have an idea of how many personnel have acquired that international knowledge to help them effectively participate in missions? Are we able to participate in multiple missions in more than one place at the same time, since personnel has to be deployed to more than one location?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: To answer the first part of your question, we train about 5,000 people every year to achieve high operational readiness so we can deploy them with just one additional training component tailored to the mission.

Their knowledge does not disappear after this year of training. Personnel remain on high readiness for one year and are ready to be deployed. In general, there are always 5,000 personnel ready to be deployed, 5,000 who have just completed training and 5,000 in training. This is also bearing in mind various experiences on smaller mission. Since the Canadian Army is contributing in Congo, Sudan, Iraq and Kuwait, this knowledge is applied everywhere they go. One of the strengths of the Canadian Army is being agile, alert and able to spread out its contribution.

Right now, we are making a major contribution in Iraq. From the army’s point of view, it is a bit more limited, but in Iraq we have an all-source intelligence cell that supports operations. We are part of operation UNIFIER in Ukraine. We are also part of operation REASSURANCE, a special NATO operation in Poland.

So our footprint is quite big. Logistical support is often a limiting factor, but we can maintain our commitments at this time.

Senator Dagenais: I would like to return to what Senator Jaffer said. Many former armed forces members have spoken to us about training, and you said that the training available is sufficient. Another issue is equipment. It is often said that people are well-trained and ready, but do not have the necessary equipment.

In your various missions, have you had issues with equipment renewal? We have even heard that, sometimes, it takes 10 years make a decision about a tank or light armoured vehicle. I do not think it takes 10 years to build a light armoured vehicle.

With regard to equipment, do you think you have the necessary equipment to carry out missions or do you think you need more equipment or at least need to update it?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I was in charge of land equipment needs from 2007 to 2009 and I was responsible for defining requirements. Although I am no longer responsible for that, I can draw on my experience.

We introduced several new vehicle fleets. You may have heard of the light armoured vehicle 6.0, a vehicle with the latest technology that is the envy of many and provides unrivalled protection against explosives and viewing systems. We introduced the light armoured patrol vehicle, and 500 vehicles are being purchased. We have just received the first vehicles at Gagetown.

We have modernized our communications and night sighting systems. So we have the equipment. Yes, it is a lengthy process, because there are four steps for each project, the whole bidding process, and the dealings with Public Works. Depending on project size, good coordination is needed to get through the Treasury Board process. So the bureaucratic process is slow.

Once operational needs are defined, however, we can acquire vehicles very quickly. I am thinking of the RG-31 minesweepers, which can be acquired within months. But these vehicles do not necessarily remain in the inventory after the mission because we do not necessarily have the resources to maintain the fleets.

So we have some flexibility and I am confident that, with the new acquisitions we are expecting, we will be very well equipped.

Senator Dagenais: When you say they do not stay in the inventory, what do you mean? Are they sent elsewhere?

Maj-Gen. Lanthier: Some equipment is purchased for specific missions and our long-term funding is not sufficient to maintain and update them. So the equipment is sold — to other countries, for example, and in some cases, they can even be given to the host country —, or, to be quite honest, the equipment is at the end of its life cycle after the mission and there is no value in maintaining it. That is the case more often than not.

[English]

Senator Day: I appreciate the comments of both of you.

The first point I wanted to make, general, is that you are the Commander of the Canadian Army Doctrine and Training Centre. Is there another centre being developed for the navy and the air force, and do you coordinate that? Can you explain how that works for us?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Each environment — the air force, the navy and the army — have their own doctrine centre that produces a doctrine specific to their environment. All of this falls under what we call joint doctrine, which refers to when more than one service contributes to capabilities.

The Canadian Armed Forces Warfare Centre is where joint doctrine happens. The rudiments of that doctrine are the cornerstone of everything else. That's where it is unified so that we have a common and coherent vision.

At my level, I have the air/land integration centre in my headquarters, because the army and air force work together intimately. We cannot deliver the effects we need without the air force. So we have to have a common air-to-land doctrine, the air/land doctrine. Think of it as a Venn diagram with many overlapping circles.

Senator Day: Where is the warfare doctrine centre located?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Shirleys Bay, sir.

Senator Day: Near Ottawa. Then when we go to the more specific training for peacekeeping operations, you are an interagency organization, and you have all three in Kingston with you?

Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Healey, Commander, Peace Support Training Centre, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: On my staff, I have representatives from the army, navy and air force. Once we conduct the training, we actually bring in people from, for example, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Toronto Police Service and other UN agencies as available to actually teach the courses. That's what we mean when we say "interagency," because we all combine to provide the training to enable our soldiers to produce the effects the government wants us to produce.

Senator Day: You have a number of trainers. You talked about 5,000 trained each year for the army; I assume that’s where that figure is from. But that's primarily in Wainwright or out in Alberta in the summer exercise. How many are on an ongoing basis, and how long would someone be in Kingston to go through the training they receive there?

Lt.-Col. Healey: Our signature course, United Nations Military Experts on Mission course, is 20 days. They would come to Kingston and do their training, and then they would go back to their home units and get additional administrative training.

That's our longest course — 20 days — but in terms of peacekeeping operations, it's 20 days.

Senator Day: With regard to training and educating with respect to gender sensitivity, language and that kind of thing, you can't do that in 20 days. How do you handle that? It's a critically important part of peacekeeping.

Lt.-Col. Healey: The United Nations Military Experts on Mission course is consistent with what the UN calls their core pre-deployment training materials. We incorporate into our training whatever the UN-mandated training is for gender and cross-cutting issues, such as human rights, sexual exploitation and abuse.

As General Lanthier mentioned during the opening remarks, our course has been certified with the UN since the late 1990s. That certification process takes place every five years. We recently had our course recertified. That means that the training we conduct is consistent with all relevant requirements mandated by the UN, including gender, peace and security, sexual exploitation and abuse.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: You are right that if is not part of the curriculum on a daily basis, then we don't get the full benefit. So the CDS issued a directive on gender-based analysis training in early summer 2016 — the army. We are conducting that training — GBA+, it's called — across the forces at different levels. In my organization, for example, all the leaders, all the way to the instructor level, all the staff that develop policies, training courseware — that's all part of the training curriculum necessary for them to undertake. So we design the training with that.

I have directed for all training events, not only in Wainwright but throughout the entire year, the series of scenarios that people will face, such as other nations conducting themselves inappropriately, including sexual exploitation, detainee abuse by local forces. All the types of incidents that we may see are part of the scenario injected into the training. That way, we develop that base, and people undergoing training can then truly understand what the right actions are and how to consider those actions under the code of conduct.

Senator Day: Is that all under the umbrella of peace support training or something separate?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It is seamless. Everything we do is a consideration.

Senator Day: That's not just the 20 days we were talking about with the colonel?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is a specific focus on that in the course, but it is embedded in everything else we do.

Lt.-Col. Healey: I will add that when we have Canadians do the UN Military Experts on Mission course, we have to send a certification to the UN saying that a member has completed all the training in accordance with UN-mandated training. At that time, the UN can decide they don't want to accept that member for another reason, so they have the final say. As I said, our training is consistent with their core, mandated training.

Senator Day: For our group, what is the name of that UN agency or organization that does the certification?

Lt.-Col. Healey: It goes through the international training staff, part of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations.

Senator Day: General, you made mention of Queen's University and other universities, but you didn't the Royal Military College, and it's right there in Kingston. Is there not some synergy with your organization and the Royal Military College?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: There is not a lot. I think Walter Dorn at RMC is in direct contact with both the Canadian Army Command and Staff College —

Senator Day: Mr. Dorn was here a few days ago.

Lt.-Col. Healey: Those universities that we indicated in the opening remarks have approached PSTC because they want to help educate some of their honour graduate and graduate-level students, and they want to take advantage the fact that the Peace Support Training Centre is actually in Kingston. So we do have interactions with RMC, but we tend to do more with other universities because they have a process.

Senator Day: But surely with the future officers graduating from RMC, the sooner you expose them to some of the sensitivities of peacekeeping, gender issues, et cetera, the better it would be. When do they get that training?

Lt.-Col. Healey: We need to equate RMC with a civilian university. During the academic school year they are doing civilian studies. All this other training actually happens in the summer when they go to their respective environments.

For example, I'm an infantry officer. If I was at RMC, I would go to Gagetown in the summertime. All those cross-cultural, cross-cutting issues, like human rights, sexual exploitation and abuse, they will learn that in their trade-specific training.

What the other universities are doing is their academics are coming in and consulting with us, and we're sharing ideas as we move forward to determine how best to prepare our soldiers for going on peacekeeping operations.

Senator Beyak: Thank you, gentlemen. I'm always gratified when I'm out in the riding to see how many Canadians watch meetings of our National Security and Defence Committee on TV, and I think it's because it is such a universal issue in the world that we live in right now. Every meeting, every set of witnesses, we learn something new. Thank you very much. I didn't realize the scope of your work.

When we are deploying to another country, are there specific military requirements within the doctrine that have to be in place before we go? Could you share those with us?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I'm not sure I'll answer directly, but please come back to me if I don't.

We define very precisely training requirements in what we call the Canadian Army operating plan. Those are the generic training requirements by which we judge whether we have achieved the level of professionalism and technical expertise we need. Then, when we have a specific mission, I issue, on behalf of the army commander, what we call the high readiness direction and guidance. We call that the Battle Task Standard. It is an exhaustive list of what needs to be trained, under what standard, and what standard needs to be achieved. Then we have different confirmation levels.

For example, on behalf of the army commander, I certify or confirm brigade levels. Ten units, 5,000 people. A brigadier-general that commands a division will confirm the battle groups. That's how we achieve the training requirements that are expressly stated. For a specific mission, it will go as far as the language, the culture, the political and socio-economic background. All the aspects that form a nation will be presented and taught.

Senator Beyak: Thank you very much. That's good to know.

Lt.-Col. Healey: I would add that I identify that our training is consistent with the core pre-deployment training materials from the UN. We add Canadian-specific material to that, such as first aid, the "Road to Mental Readiness" and "Conduct after Capture." These are requirements in addition to the basic training that the UN mandates in order to better prepare our soldiers.

The Chair: I will follow up on that before we leave the area with respect to the instructors and the expertise in terms of understanding the culture and the politics of a country to which you may deploy. The people that are instructing, do they come from that country and do they provide the expertise and nuances of what exactly is going on?

The reason I ask that question is that we have had witnesses tell us that we are sometimes sending our military into places where we have no idea of the political and religious doctrines that people live by and therefore no understanding of the day-to-day dangers that our men and women can face when they actually arrive in these particular theatres. The question is, do you actually have people who understand it and live it and who will be able to give the advice to our officers when they take this training?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: In terms of having the resident expertise within either the PSTC or the Canadian Armed Forces, it is fairly limited. We rely heavily, of course, on our attaché, a network, to get us part of that information, but we have a relationship with Global Affairs Canada, where those experts come in.

I will let Colonel Healey expand, because he manages that on behalf of the army and the forces.

Lt.-Col. Healey: We engage heavily with Global Affairs Canada. They have cultural awareness experts. For every course that we run, if we know the particular area that Canadians will be deploying in, they send over cultural awareness experts, and they will give all those details as you've identified in order to provide the atmosphere of the environment that our soldiers will be deploying in.

The Chair: I don't think you have answered my direct question, though. I will relate it closer to home.

I'm from the Yukon, three time zones away. We have people in Ottawa responsible for the Yukon in various aspects of how we live, but they don't live there, and a lot of times they don't get it right.

My question is, if you're going to deploy to Mali or places of that nature, which are very dangerous, we've been told that if the decision is taken to go to a country like that, we had better have an understanding of what's going on in the day-to-day operations of the country.

Do you actually have people from that particular country who give our troops or officers that insight, as opposed to somebody who has maybe read a book?

Lt.-Col. Healey: For Roto 0, that's very difficult to do. However, what we do is we go to our trusted partners, our allies, that have deployed to those operations and bring them to Canada to instruct our courses.

Once we go through a number of iterations, we actually do what we call a reverse TAV, or technical assistance visit, where we bring the commanders who were actually on the ground, who have interfaced with the local population, who have perhaps identified some of their friction points. They come back and help inform the current training.

The Chair: I think that in part answers my question.

Senator White: Thanks to both of you for being here. I apologize for being late.

I appreciate it when you talk about the training programs. It sounds like you have a package you put together and you make changes to it, depending on if you know where you're going. But you must be identifying capacity and capability gaps as you go through that. How do you push that back to Ottawa? The highway is not always that quick. How do you push it back to Ottawa to identify, "Look, we are planning into go into Africa right now" — or Mali or wherever it happens to be, "and we think there are some concerns"? Or do you just say, "We're the military." As somebody said yesterday, "We are a ‘can do’ organization." How do you push it back so that you actually make sure those capacity and capability gaps are filled as much as possible?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I'll speak from an army level. The approach we take is that once the initiating directive comes down to us, we identify the mission parameters and requirements. We then map that against our capabilities across all domains: Do we have the right doctrine, the right equipment, training, facilities, weapons and ammunition? What is the art of the possible, we do; and the rest, we identify where those gaps exist and the mitigation strategies.

This will be an iterative process. Are the mitigation strategies presented acceptable? Is the residual risk acceptable in Ottawa and of course ultimately to the Government of Canada? That will make the mission mandate or the parameters of the mission evolve to a point where the residual risks are acceptable. We will never put away all risks, but we will always deploy with an understanding of the parameters and capabilities we have so that there is a match with the two.

Senator White: Thanks for that. I appreciate that you're always trying to tighten up those gaps. Our friend is from the Yukon, and we know that working in isolated communities is the same thing; you end up with those same types of gaps in some of the areas.

A number of years ago in Afghanistan there were questions around UN CIVPOL, the policing side, being outside the wire and whether or not they received the same level of training that the military received to be outside the wire. In fact, they weren't receiving the same training at all. I know that at the time, DFAIT — Global Affairs today — had looked at whether or not they needed to change the training.

When you look at those new missions coming up, do you also engage the police agencies to ensure that with the training you are providing, which is narrowing gaps, is being provided to them, or do you actually engage them in your training facility?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: When we conduct training, we will invite allies and other agencies, so GAC. We will send policy advisers. We will send those usual partners.

With regard to civilian police, unless it is theatre-specific training, not the generic overall screening, there is not, at my level, a mechanism to do that. I'm not resourced nor mandated to do that. I cannot answer at the higher level, from an issue perspective, the approach for that, unfortunately.

Lt.-Col. Healey: Sir, if I may, we have a very good relationship with the Toronto police force. As part of the United Nations Military Experts on Mission course, there is the requirement for investigations, for interrogations, for following up. They provide instructors who actually come down. By building those relationships, they are actually exposed to the level of training that we do, and so we talk to them. We also have a relationship with the RCMP with their training facility.

We have had these engagements and conversations, but as we've identified, we need to do better on how we get the whole-of-government aspect together.

Senator White: I appreciate that relationship, but that's about building your capacity when Toronto comes in there. I guess my concern is whether or not the capacity is being built for those police agencies. It's not just the RCMP; over 50 per cent of the police officers who actually go into theatre right now are not RCMP. In fact, about 65 per cent are not RCMP.

Would it be possible for us to receive a copy of some type of syllabus that shows us how that engagement works with police agencies? I am a little bit concerned that, right now, we are seeing a lot of agencies come back. We had discussions with Minister Goodale last spring about the fact that a lot of police services are getting officers back with a number of different issues and aren't even covered through Veterans Affairs from a medical perspective in the same way that the RCMP are. Is it possible that I could try to figure out the syllabus to see whether or not there is enough connection? Because I'm not convinced there is. No disrespect. I respect what you guys do.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: If I identify a gap, it comes back to one of my previous remarks where we do not have that forum or that ability to train collectively, for everybody deployed to have a commonality of training, understanding of the doctrine, combined and joint. I don't know if we'd be able to provide you with something because I do not know, at my level, if there is such a thing.

Lt.-Col. Healey: We do offer hazardous environment training. This is for civil servants because we have a service level agreement with Global Affairs. So we do have a package to prepare civil servants. Can that be incorporated to better prepare police officers? I think that's a good question, sir, and we'll look at that.

Senator Jaffer: The chair asked you a question about knowledge of the area. I know Mali well. I have spent time there. One of your biggest assets — and I'm sure you just forgot to mention it — is our own foreign service officers who have worked for many years in Mali and have tremendous knowledge. Mali is not a new country for our country because it's French speaking. Our foreign officers have spent many years there, so we have a great base of knowledge in that regard, which I'm sure you will access.

I want to go back to the Pearson centre. I was upset that it was closed because I worked in that centre. I know that it helped to reach out to civilians, and it helped you people to specialize in how to reach out to civilians and in peacekeeping operations. How have you replaced that?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: It is not part of my mandate. It's a Government-of-Canada-wide mandate, so my mandate is to focus the training at the tactical level, for mission success at the tactical level. That is truly that PSTC does as a subset of the overall training strategy. It's a bit outside my lane, ma’am.

Senator Jaffer: I have one last question. When I have seen great men and women that you work with on the ground, I've seen you do really well with not so much boots on the ground but the strategic advice that you provide. For example, in Darfur, I observed with the AU the strategic advice that you were giving your men and women. I believe that your strength is the training, the expertise you bring, the high standard — I may be biased being Canadian — our men and women have, our Canadian Forces have. That's the strength. Am I wrong in that? Is that your strength? It won't be the numbers you send. It's the competency and the knowledge that you share with peacekeeping operations.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: I think we've increased tremendously our knowledge and ability to do what we call security force capability building. That's an important thing to know. It can be done and we've done it very well at the tactical level.

My first deployment in Kandahar in 2006 was to train a brigade, a battalion, of Afghan forces, 205th Corps. Then, when I was deployed for a full year in 2011-12, it was to do the same thing but at a strategic level, helping the development of the ministry of interior, the ministry of defence of the Afghan forces.

I guess my message is: We have to address the entire spectrum. It you don't develop the governance level, if you don't do security sector reform at the highest level, if we don't make sure of that, from an economic perspective, a justice perspective, a legal perspective, a constitutional perspective, if you don't attack all of this simultaneously and follow through all the way to the tactical level, then sustainability of mission success is compromised. It has to be a truly whole-of-government effort focused across the wider spectrum of capabilities.

Senator Beyak: You answered most of my questions just now in your response, but something you said earlier raised another question. You said that we need a place where the different partners can forge a joint doctrine. I wondered if you think we need a new Pearson centre or if you have enough with enhanced funding there, if we could meet new goals and objectives of the government when it comes to pre- and post-deployment training for our allies in developing countries that are sending solders to UN missions?

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: Because there is not a recognized, formally funded centre with clear priorities, it is done to the capacity of each organization. The Canadian Armed Forces is unique in the sense that our whole life is dedicated to training for contingencies. Global Affairs Canada and other police corps or agencies do not have a training capacity. Their day-to-day job consists completely of delivering a specific role against specific objectives.

Everything we do is a bit ad hoc and is at the whim of the party of the day for that department, for that agency. We need to be able to create that space to train so that it's not a pickup team that shows up but rather a team that is thinking the same way about stabilization operations or peace support operations. That, from my perspective, is a bit of a gap we have, and it needs to be formalized. Is it a physical place? Is it a forum? Is it a series of directions and guidance that establishes that? That has to be looked at, I believe.

Senator Beyak: Thank you. That is very helpful.

Senator Day: It might be helpful for us to have on the record where the Peace Operations Training Institute in the United States is located.

Maj.-Gen. Lanthier: We will have to take that one on notice, sir. We'll get back to you.

Senator Day: Sure. That would be fine, just so we can put it on our record.

Lt.-Col. Healey: I actually have promotional material that you are more than welcome to have a look at. It's online.

POTI is not a replacement for Pearson. POTI is the Peace Operations Training Institute, a U.S.-based charity. It allows us to do blended learning so that we can actually leverage some of the UN information. Their curriculum is based on the system within the UN, so they provide scenarios and little vignettes that we use to complement our training. It's a means to an end; it is not the end. It's not a replacement for Pearson.

The Chair: I want to follow up on Senator White's question, and that's the question of army doctrine and how it applies to all army members. We have heard that the reservists are treated somewhat differently in many cases, as opposed to those involved in the regular force. We've heard a number of stories, not just during the course of these hearings but over the last number of years.

I would assume that the army doctrine would say that all members of your force would be treated equally. So, if it does say that, why are we in a situation where reservists and others are being treated differently for medical purposes perhaps, for training perhaps? Can you explain that? And if your army doctrine doesn't express that principle, why doesn't it?

Major-General Lanthier: From a doctrine perspective, the doctrine applies equally, without any distinction, in terms of what we're trying to accomplish. The doctrine is a guiding principle on how you conduct operations or other activities and it applies equally.

The difference of course is that the regular force does that full-time. The reserves do it part-time, a few nights and a weekend a month. So the level and standard they can achieve over the same period is different and therefore expectations in terms of training are different.

To deploy, the standard is exactly the same. That's why Lieutenant-Colonel Healey mentioned we don't employ reservists on what we call Roto 0, because often that deployment does not allows reservists to catch up and reach the level and standard of training readiness that's needed. We recognize that gap.

The Chair: We're coming to an end here. I'm sure you've heard it here, but for the record, even those reservists who go on full time, there are some differences at the end of the day with respect to how they are treated. I think that's what Senator White was referring to as well regarding the military. I’m sure that is a cause of concern for yourself with respect to how benefits and other things apply to them.

That being said, I want to thank our witnesses for appearing.

Senators, joining us on panel two today are Ms. Petra Andersson-Charest, Director of Programs, Parliamentary Centre; and Mr. Paul LaRose-Edwards, Executive Director, CANADEM. Welcome.

As background, the Parliamentary Centre is a Canadian-based international non-governmental organization established in 1968. It offers legislative, social and economic expertise to parliamentarians across the globe. Its current mission statement resolves around a three-year strategy plan looking to improve governance and citizen participation in the democratic process. Part of its work includes conflict prevention and peace-building education for legislatures.

CANADEM is a non-profit, non-government organization established in 1996 by Mr. LaRose-Edwards. Its main goal is to help with the mobilization and preparation of experts that can contribute to international peace and security. Its roster is currently composed of more than 25,000 individuals whose expertise varies from military experience, governance experts and humanitarian response.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards, please proceed.

Paul LaRose-Edwards, Executive Director, CANADEM: Senator Lang and committee members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. Like Assistant Deputy Minister Gwozdecky in his testimony, I will focus on UN peace operations in their broadest sense and on the civilian contributions that Canada can make.

About halfway through my 35 years of international service with the UN and others, I came to the enduring realization that most systemic change is driven by innovative individuals making small things happen in their immediate work environment. Such individuals develop workarounds and make things happen despite organizational hurdles, and when there is a critical mass of innovative make-it-happen individuals, then UN systemic change miraculously happens.

So in 1996, as part of Canada's contribution to strengthening UN field operations, Foreign Affairs funded us to set up CANADEM, Canada's civilian reserve. It is a vehicle to identify individual Canadians in international service, to find ways to inject them into UN hiring processes ranging from P2 positions to the D1 and D2 diplomatic levels. We take pride in strengthening the UN one expert at a time.

That remains our core role, enabled by our roster of 14,000 Canadians and another 15,000 non-Canadians. Along the way, the Canadian and British governments, the UN and others have funded us to not only find the right experts but to hire and deploy those experts to join UN and other field missions, including humanitarian emergency experts, election and ceasefire observers, experts on governance and human rights.

I believe that one of Canada's biggest contributions to peace operations could consist of getting more of the right civilians into those operations. Even narrowly defined, peacekeeping operations are not foremost military. This is counterintuitive, particularly as in most UN peace operations the number of military personnel vastly outnumber the civilians. But as you know, the military force commander reports to the civilian head of mission, invariably the SRGS, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General. In peace operations there is never a military solution. The enduring solutions lie in politics, rule of law and civil society.

This has been validated most recently by HIPPO, the 2015 High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. HIPPO set out just four essential shifts required for peace operations to better succeed. The very first one is that for all peace operations:

Politics must have primacy. Political solutions should always guide the design and deployment of UN peace operations and political momentum must be sustained.

Because of the importance of civilians in UN peace operations, therein lies perhaps the biggest potential for Canada's renewed contribution to peace operations. As you know, cost will always limit the size of Canada's military contribution. In contrast, Canadian civilians on peace operations can be almost cost-free to Canada, and so it would be easy for Canada to dramatically increase the proportion of Canadian civilians in peace operations.

Peace operations normally hire their civilian personnel directly, so it is merely a case of Canada making sure that stellar Canadian candidates are injected into UN hiring procedures. Peacekeeping operations alone have more than 19,000 civilian staff, political missions have more than 3,000, and then there are other types of peace operations. The UN pays their salaries so Canada can increase its presence in peace operations at no cost.

But the UN hiring process is dysfunctional. Again let me quote from HIPPO:

There is no topic that elicits greater frustration in the field across all levels of staff. Existing procedures for recruiting staff and bringing them on board are onerous and slow. . . . Peace operations also need the flexibility to bring on board for a specified period, and then release, individuals with specific skills and experiences relevant to a particular mandate or situation.

This long-standing UN hiring dysfunctionality calls for outside assistance by Canada. By showcasing our best, more Canadians will be hired, Canada will increase Canadian involvement and UN peace operations will be stronger. This almost cost-free option for Canada is a huge lost opportunity. I say "lost" because Canada for a decade had seized that opportunity and then jettisoned it in 2007. Attached to this brief is a more detailed explanation of this recommendation, "Rebuilding the UN-Canada Partnership: The Recruitment Piece."

Let me touch briefly on UN humanitarian operations and their expanding standby partnership mechanism and its ramifications for peace operations.

About 30 agencies worldwide are funded by governments to hire experts to be seconded to UN humanitarian operations. The NGO I am with, CANADEM, is in the top 10 of those 30 agencies. We receive $5 million annually from the British government and $1.5 million from the Canadian government. So this option is not cost-free, but it is an important mechanism for UN humanitarian field operations to get the right expert at the right time for the right duration.

I flag this mechanism because there are calls for it to also apply to UN peace operations. We recommend when this comes to pass that Canada looks to provide that direct civilian expert assistance to peace operations.

I'm going to skip my comments on OSCE field missions because that might not be of immediate interest to you, but I am happy return to it and talk about our 50 Canadians in the Ukraine with the OSCE special monitoring mission.

To further maximize the impact of Canadian civilians in peace operations, let me set out two recommendations on how to further assist Canadians to enter, but perhaps more importantly how to succeed in UN international service. In a virtuous cycle, the better Canadians perform, the more they enable peace operations to have an impact, the more Canadians will be promoted and the more opportunity they will have to increase the impact of the UN and, by extension, Canada. Just like the Canadian military benefits from training and field leadership, field management, operational planning, et cetera, so too Canadian civilians will benefit from field training, including how to maximize their performance in advancing UN operations.

We recommend that Canada stand up a civilian training institution similar to the original Pearson peacekeeping centre. Attached is a proposal on what that civilian training centre might look like.

Second, we recommend the creation of a Canadian civilian corps. It would have a number of mandates, including getting more Canadians into international service, providing individual Canadians already in international service with an association that facilitates their international service, and would provide Global Affairs Canada with enhanced connectivity with those thousands of Canadians in international service. That recommendation is also attached.

Finally, we want to support Canada's action plan for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security. Attached is our recommendation that Canada unilaterally take a unique role in advancing UN 1325 reform by advancing the candidacy of strong women for international service across the UN, including peace operations. CANADEM would inject strong women candidates into UN hiring processes, but the UN would hire and pay them, costing Canada nothing. This, I believe, could end up being the most important new contribution that Canada could make.

Let me end my opening remarks there, and I would be happy to respond to your questions.

The Chair: Thank you.

Ms. Andersson-Charest.

Petra Andersson-Charest, Director of Programs, Parliamentary Centre: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair and committee members, for giving the Parliamentary Centre the opportunity to appear before the committee today.

As the chair mentioned, the Parliamentary Centre is a Canadian not-for-profit, non-partisan organization that for almost 50 years now has supported good governance practices at the national, subnational and regional levels. We have helped build the capacity of approximately 120 legislators to better perform their law-making oversight and representative roles, working closely with all institutions and actors of governance, including civil society and the media. While our work is global, it might be interesting to know that we started our existence as a support centre for the Canadian Parliament linked to international affairs, trade and defence.

I will focus my remarks on why the Parliamentary Centre is supportive of a whole-of-government approach linked to peace operations, and the importance of ensuring that good governance is a critical component of this approach, to reinforce security and build sustainable peace.

As you know, Canada is one of the countries committed to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. This agenda recognizes that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace and security without sustainable development. Our experience is also that there can be no sustainable development without good governance.

Good governance can be seen as the immune system to help provide the stability, reliability and predictability needed to ensure rule of law, citizen security and a business climate that is favourable to investment and national prosperity. This helps mitigate state fragility and conflict. Good governance provides the best possible process for decision making that is inclusive, transparent and accountable, as well as equitable and meaningful at all levels. It is also the most effective way to empower nations to take ownership of their own efforts to achieve sustainability and peace.

Peace operations require political will and the relevant capacity, as we heard. Many conflicts are only resolved or prevented in the first place when the different stakeholders can reconcile their views and agree on how to build a stable functioning model of governance. Building peace and good governance can therefore not be separated. The first cannot happen without the other.

Support to build strong and effective institutions should therefore be seen as one of many tools in a comprehensive tool box that Canada can use for conflict prevention, peace building and post-conflict reconstruction. We recognize and strongly support the idea that a combination of tools and actors needs to be used during the different stages of peace operations. Further, referring to the chair's remarks earlier, the tools have to be adjusted depending on the unique historical, cultural and political context of each country.

When engaging in peace operations, it is important that Canada moves forward with a comprehensive and holistic approach built on cooperation and coordination between different actors, such as the military, police, diplomatic corps, civilians experts, and organizations like ours working on democratic development, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.

The resources available for peace operations in Canada and elsewhere are not likely to increase at the same pace as the security challenges around the world. Canada will need to do more with less and be innovative in addressing these challenges.

This is why the Parliamentary Centre supports the whole-of-government approach. Increased coordination between and within the Departments of Global Affairs, National Defence and Public Safety is required to identify the gaps and avoid the overlaps.

When we combine the knowledge of our highly skilled personnel from our military and police force with that of Canadian organizations and experts, it will add value to our peace operations. It is important that this joint action is effective, efficient and results-oriented. It needs to be based on a common understanding of what is a successful peace operation and have well-defined criteria to determine progress and measure results.

To ensure that good governance becomes a critical component to reinforce security and build sustainable peace, the existing gap in support needs to be addressed. There is an increased focus on governance and international development projects, and the revamped Peace and Stabilization Operations Program at Global Affairs will help, but long approval processes are an obstacle to effective, relevant and timely engagement.

When working with fragile states and countries making strides towards peaceful development, time is always of the essence, and Canada does have the mechanism to respond to natural and manmade disasters through the Disaster Assistance Response Team, but the Parliamentary Centre recommends that a similar mechanism be put in place to respond quickly when governance systems are failing and result in escalating security challenges. This could be mirrored on the U.K. across-government and fast-reaction mechanism called the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund. The Parliamentary Centre is one of the organizations that has been pre-qualified to participate in this framework.

In closing, the Parliamentary Centre would like to stress that to ensure the success of Canada's peace operations, good governance cannot be overlooked.

I thank you again, Mr. Chair and committee members, for allowing the Parliamentary Centre to be here, and I look forward to your questions.

The Chair: Thank you both for your presentations.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you to both of you for being here today and also for the work you do. I'm going to start with Mr. LaRose-Edwards.

You may have mentioned and I missed it, but I know you also send people for election observing and I know a lot of Canadians participate with CANADEM on many of the elections you observe. Am I correct? You do that, right?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: That's correct. As a matter of fact, we have someone flying back today from Russia. They observed the Duma elections, including someone from Whitehorse. We work very hard to make sure we get cross-Canada representation, youth, older folks. I think about 55 per cent are women. We try to get a good balance.

The Chair: I'm beginning to like you all the more.

Senator Jaffer: I also know that you have been pushing UN Resolution 1325. In your submission, you say that CANADEM has expanded its "1325 capacity . . . with a view to resurging and re-establishing it UN reform function." You did say — my colleagues all looked at me when you said it — that you were including women. That's music to my ears, but I'd like to know more specifically how you are included women.

With your election observing, I'm impressed in how you're including women, but in the UN, what efforts are you making, especially for women in decision making, not just numbers?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: As you can see from the tenor of my comments, I truly believe in the force of individuals who will make a difference, and collectively then they reach critical mass.

To change the culture of the UN, you just have to have more women. Not only have women in a proper representation, but let's be realistic. Looking at women's issues, children's issues out there, women have more of an inherent understanding of the challenges facing refugees, IDPs, people in crisis, so the more women you have in the UN, the better. It needs to be across all levels. You need people coming into the P2 level that 15, 20 years from now will be D1s, and D2s, and you also need to populate the higher levels too.

The Chair: Could you tell us what a D1 is?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: D1 is the first level of the diplomatic grade. There is no P1. There are P2, 3, 4, 5, and then they become diplomatic; diplomatic D1, 2, 3.

The Chair: Just so those observing on TV understand what we're speaking of.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: So the diplomatic positions are extremely important. We look also to inject women into that.

I'm not too sure if you picked up on my point that, yes, I would like to advance strong Canadian women, but we also have a roster of strong Third World women from Africa and the Middle East in particular. That roster is somewhere in the range of 16,000 right now, large numbers of women on there.

The UN just does not have very good mechanisms to get strong women into the hiring process. I know a lot of people who want to hire women, and they say, "Listen, we were presented with 15 candidates and there were only three women and they didn't have a lot of qualifications."

Senator Jaffer: Do you work with UN Women?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes, we've been working with UN agencies across the board.

Senator Jaffer: No, UN Women.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Not currently. We're not actually funded to do that work anymore.

Senator Jaffer: Okay.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Which is a little bit of the challenge for us as an NGO. We can do things on the side, as we do.

Senator Jaffer: My next question is to the Parliamentary Centre. I've been here for 16 years, and when I came here I worked a lot with the Parliamentary Centre. I was very proud of the work you were doing in Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Senegal. I have seen your work first-hand. I want to thank you for your work, and I hope you continue to do it.

I have observed from afar, because I haven't been involved lately, the work you've done in Indonesia, how you have included women and how that has built their capacity, which has really been good. But I'd really like to hear from you as to how you are implementing Resolution 1325, especially with women. How are you building capacity? I know you're working in many countries in Africa as well, so it would be helpful to see how you're involving civilians and how you could help our peace operations in including civilians.

Ms. Andersson-Charest: Women have always been very central to our programs around the world and, as you mentioned, in Africa in particular.

We always try and ensure that we work specifically with the women to ensure that they have the capacity to take on larger decision-making roles and not necessarily work in the traditional sense and the traditional, so to speak, committees but are also members of the defence committee, the finance committee, and so on, so they can have a true impact on their countries.

I will give you a couple of examples. This is a little while back now, before the earthquake in Haiti. We had a large program where we trained women that wanted to be elected members, to help empower them to run for the election and to know what to do when elected, which is not very common when women come into Parliament. They have very little training prior to — men and women, actually — so that was a big focus of our program there.

We have worked with ECOWAS Parliament where we developed a gender strategy. This was actually linked to conflict prevention and management in an overall program to strengthen the regional Parliament in this capacity.

Recently, we worked with women parliamentarians in Burma, or Myanmar, where we brought together women MPs and senators from both houses and from the regional level with Canadian peers and also regional peers from Cambodia and Nepal, to engage in common interests and see how they could work together beyond the political divide for the interests of women.

Senator Jaffer: I want to take this opportunity to formally thank Mr. Miller, who ran the Parliamentary Centre for many years. If you are ever speaking to him, certainly the Parliament of Canada has appreciated the work he did for the Parliamentary Centre and for Canadians, and it is good to see you are continuing his work. Thank you.

Ms. Andersson-Charest: I will pass the message along.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: I have two questions, one for Mr. LaRose-Edwards and one for Ms. Andersson-Charest.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards, a witness said yesterday that, in his opinion, peacekeeping missions are essentially political missions. You touched on this earlier in your introduction.

Based on your broad experience at various levels of intervention, can you tell us who conducts a peacekeeping mission on the ground? Is it political or military direction?

[English]

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: It is completely the political side. I know the HIPPO report is huge, and it is a hard read at times to grind through, but I strongly recommend it. It makes the point, time and again, that as important as the military is, as important as the police is, that the political agenda of the mission and the politics not only within the mission but with local civil society, local government and the region, drives everything. And the Congo is a good example: "We are just going to throw in enough troops and it will sort it out." No. We don't have enough troops in all of NATO to sort out the Congo. If they cannot bring themselves to a political solution, it will not happen.

Politics drives everything, which is why we need to work harder at getting stronger civilians into these operations who understand the politics and how to work the politics.

You senators particularly understand the importance of politics. So, no, there is no military solution. They are key, critical enablers, in military speak, but they are not the ones that will make it happen.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Would it be possible to conduct an effective peacekeeping mission without military support?

[English]

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Absolutely not. Well, there are some peace operations that are purely civilian, but the big ones in the complicated areas where there is a conflict or potential of conflict, the military is extremely important. I don't want to diminish the military role. It is like saying we also need logisticians and people flying aircraft for the civilians. But the solution will be in enabling the local society, local government, to come to a political resolution of the problems facing it and let us pull out.

So, no, we need the military. We desperately need the military to be better aware of the politics they are getting into, and this is perhaps a shortcoming right now. They are critically important, but they will not be the drivers for success.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Ms. Andersson-Charest, I have a question for you as well. It is a simple question, but your answer could be very helpful for us.

What is Canada not doing right now that it could easily do to be more effective in preventing conflicts?

[English]

Ms. Andersson-Charest: I think the main problem right now is that many of the departments don’t work between them. They are like silos, so there is no cooperation, coordination within Canada. And this is not just at the departmental level; it's between organizations as well. We see the same also when we work in various countries.

The Parliamentary Centre's approach has always been to look for partners and working partnerships and complement other efforts that are there. This is really the approach, and that's why I talked about the whole-of-government approach and having a holistic approach. That will be the only way we will have success in our peace operations.

When we build on the strengths from organizations like CANADEM and combine that with other organizations that are also working closely with the organizations on the ground, that's when you are going to get that complete understanding of the situation in a country.

We will never say that we are the experts in any of the countries where we work. We rely on our local partners to really show us what their conditions are, and those conditions vary.

I'll give you one example. We've just started a project in Burkina Faso. Obviously, there has been a lot of instability in Burkina Faso and the region lately. But the reason why Burkina Faso is now not in the conflict is because it has the political will, a strong civil society and the will to build stronger governance institutions.

We work directly with the national assembly there. The first intervention we had was to do a needs assessment of the full assembly. What are the needs of the MPs, the staff and the institution as a whole? Only then can we start our intervention.

But to know that, we also need to work with the local partners so they help us understand the cultural differences between the different representations and understanding the deep cultural and religious differences. Burkina Faso has made great efforts to step beyond what is religion and so on, and that's one of the reasons it's a stronger country and could play a large role in Canada's missions in the region.

Senator White: Thanks to both of you for being here.

The discussion going on now about a peace operation in Africa is an example. We have had a lot of witnesses talk about the fact that it's not peacekeeping and that it's a peace operation, which I think, from what I understand, is a key difference.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards, could tell us how your organization supports that, from developing conflict-resolution techniques, to governance, to the pieces outside of the military. Could you walk us through how that would happen, should we end up in Mali, as an example?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Our primary role is a resource of Canadian expertise. Now half of our roster of 26,000 are non-Canadians, so we can draw on those experts and put those forward for engagements by those that are actually working on the ground.

I will give you an example on the humanitarian side. In a humanitarian emergency, suddenly one part of the UN, the UNICEF, WHO and others will need a particular expert. They will contact us, and with either the British funding that we have, the $5 million, or the Canadian funding, the $1.5 million, we will hire the expert that they want and second them out to them literally in days. We are a rapid response source of experts, sometimes prepaid, or sometimes just saying: "Here is the resumé and contact information. If you want them, go for it. Hire them directly yourself."

We're a source of experts for the Canadian military if they are doing training. We're a source of experts for Foreign Affairs if they are putting operations on the ground. We are just about to be contracted by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to help them staff their fly-out teams with experts from Africa and the Middle East.

We've got that kind of a roster, probably one of the best rosters in the world. That's why the British use us, because we have a roster that those individuals can't otherwise put their hands on. We are a source of experts, one by one. Strengthening the UN and the international community one expert at a time is one of our mantras.

Senator White: With respect to specific needs, you are able to walk into your roster, and as we just heard from two military officers who were here, try to increase the capability and reduce the gap?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes. In two examples on the police side, it was not easy for the RCMP mechanism to put police experts into Haiti. So we did two rotations, first of 25 and then of 20, where we hired equipped, armed, uniformed, retired police, sent them down and attached them to the UN mission there. Equally in Afghanistan, we put a police team there in 2002 when nobody else really wanted to take that risk. We said, "We can do it. We're an NGO. We can do that."

We also put operations on the ground ourselves, but those operations usually are not standalone; they are attached to some existing mechanism.

Senator White: So a UN CIVPOL and RCMP contingent, you can have 10 of your officers in Haiti, for example?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes.

Senator White: Are they there as Canadians or as CANADEM?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: It's a hard call. The Canadian government will use us because for one reason or another it is complicated for them to actually hire and deploy people through a Canadian government mechanism, and equipping them with weapons was a good example in that instance. We had to do it on our own. We actually had to go through the Americans to find weapons and stuff like that. It’s a long story.

Sometimes an NGO can say, "Here's the money; just make it happen." If you fail, it's not going to reflect on us. We are just giving them money to try to make it happen.

I don't want to overstate the case, but sometimes we have the ability to operate where at a certain point in time it is difficult for either a UN agency or the Canadian government to actually do it.

Senator White: Thank you very much for that. I appreciate it.

Senator Day: Mr. LaRose-Edwards, I'm reading from your presentation, and an area you didn't go into was your relationship with the OSCE, and then you talk about the observers in Russia. Were all of these observers found by you from your roster and then loaned to the OSCE? Is that how it works?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Exactly. Let me make sure I get the figures right.

With the OSCE election observation missions alone, we have deployed 730 Canadians on 69 different missions. We are doing it right now in Russia. That's something that the Canadian government is trying to decide whether it wants to keep doing or not. I think it's a cheap option of giving one group of Canadians some contact with things on the international side. They take it back to the community and talk about it there, so that's good.

Quite apart from that, we have funds from the Canadian government to have 50 Canadians as part of the OSCE special monitoring mission in Ukraine. That's ongoing and is a valuable contribution to the OSCE mission.

Senator Day: Are these individuals from your roster who work under the direction of the OSCE?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Yes. We second them, and they have day-to-day command and control.

One interesting thing on the OSCE —

The Chair: For the record, could we define OSCE?

Senator Day: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Chair: Just so our viewers understand what we are speaking about.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe is a Cold War construct of the Warsaw Pact and the NATO countries who found this as a way to try to lower the tension during the Cold War. It has lived on beyond that and its name no longer applies. Everybody just calls it the OSCE. One of their components is called ODIHR, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. They're critical in election observations. They are a very good outfit.

The OSCE has other operations. They have 3,000 civilian personnel in 19 field operations in Eastern Europe, in the Caucasus. And of those 3,000 civilians, only 17 are Canadian. They are totally cost-free to Canada. They serve as volunteers, and all their costs are covered by the OSCE. We could easily increase that number to 100 to 200 out of 3,000, but we only have 17. This is an area that I think would really be useful. I know you are looking at UN peace operations, but this is a similar kind of entity and similar kind of activity, peace and security.

Senator Day: Ms. Andersson-Charest, could you describe for us where you get your funding?

Ms. Andersson-Charest: It is mixed. We are an NGO, so we are completely project funded. We don't have any other resources. But right now, our funding is about 60 per cent from the Canadian government and 40 per cent from other donors, including the U.K. and the EU. So it's very mixed.

Senator Day: That 60 per cent from the Canadian government, are there any strings attached to it?

Ms. Andersson-Charest: It's directly linked to a project. We have no core funding whatsoever.

Senator Day: That's what I was looking for. So you would have to negotiate each project and then determine whether you could get into it based on the funding that might be available?

Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, and it is hard for organizations like ours because it doesn't give us the predictability to be active and respond when the needs arise.

Senator Day: You described yourself as an NGO, and now I understand. Do you have a roster of people who go around the world helping nations with respect to governance and the legislative process?

Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, we do. We don't have a formalized roster like CANADEM. What we do is draw on the expertise of acting members of Parliament, senators and former parliamentarians. We work closely with the Canadian Association of Former Parliamentarians and we work with experts in the various areas.

When we have a particular need — I'll give you an example. In Ukraine, your colleague Senator Andreychuk was part of a group that went there, together with the Honourable David Pratt, retired Major-General Charles Sullivan and an international expert named David Law to discuss with peers on the parliamentary oversight of the security and defence sector in Ukraine. This was an opportunity where they brought together different stakeholders in Ukraine for the first time. They had not talked about this topic together. By bringing them together and sharing their experiences — because we strongly believe in peer-to-peer exchanges. There is nothing as effective.

Senator Day: You found David Pratt as one of the former parliamentarians, and you found Senator Andreychuk as a current parliamentarian?

Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, as a senator.

Senator Day: That's a resource for you. We are all parliamentarians sitting around this table as well, presumably.

Ms. Andersson-Charest: Yes, and we are always looking to engage our elected members and senators.

Senator Day: My colleague from Yukon would like to know whether he has to register or would you contact him?

Ms. Andersson-Charest: We do keep a CV roster, so please send your information along and I will make sure we keep you in mind for future operations.

Senator Day: I have a question of Mr. LaRose-Edwards, and that is with respect to funding again. You explained the $5 million from the U.K. and the $1.5 million or $1.3 million from Canada. Is that core funding or project-oriented funding?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: As Petra knows, Canadian NGOs never get core funding. In 20 years we've never had core funding. It's always project-related, which makes it a little difficult but doable. I'm not complaining. It would be nice to have core funding, but that's a luxury we will never have.

Senator Day: Are you speaking about an average when you give those numbers? Is that the average for this year?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: The average for this year will be about $5 million from the British. I think because the numbers are increasing in the costs of having the folks in Ukraine and other activities with the Canadian government, that's probably going to get close to about $4 million this year. Our biggest funder is the British government. We are in negotiations with government from ECHO, the European Union humanitarian arm, on another initiative we have on the humanitarian side.

Senator Day: When you take funding from the U.K. of $5 million, for example, presumably you would be expected to do something for the U.K. on their roster of people or those from the U.K. who are on your roster to try to place them instead of Canadians.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: No, actually the British are extremely good on this one. When we get a request from a UN agency, UNICEF, for example, that they need this kind of expert, many of the experts we are providing right now are from developing countries from Africa or the Middle East because they have a unique skill set and awareness. The British government is extremely supportive of that. Every once in a while we will hire someone who is British — we don't preclude the Brits — but that is not one of their criteria for funding.

Senator Day: We are doing a defence policy review and looking into the new expanded initiatives of the current government with respect to peacekeeping. In our report, if we said we felt the type of work you are doing is worthwhile, fits in with and complements this expanded role of peacekeeping internationally and that there should be core funding, you wouldn't object to that.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: We would appreciate that immensely.

Ms. Andersson-Charest: If I may add to that, core funding can be dangerous as well because some organizations just feel comfortable and don't feel that they have to work as hard.

I think what we really look for is predictability and knowing that when there is a need for the work that we do that it doesn't take a year or two, in some cases, before we can actually start our work. By the time we have submitted a proposal and get approval, often the original intent of the intervention is no longer valid; that's the reality of today. That's why I encourage you to look at the current whole-of-government mechanism in place in the U.K. to really bring together organizations and consortia and have them prequalify for particular work. This is a very effective way of engaging organizations.

I'll give you a bit of information about this mechanism. It's focused on three different lots. It has three thematic areas: first, governance security and justice; second, conflict prevention, stabilization and peace building; and third, defence support services. All complement each other in an overall approach to peace operations.

In the last fiscal year, this budget was the equivalent of CA$1.78 billion. The process there is that the consortia are pre-qualified. When there is an intervention that they want to do, they give advance notice to the consortia that have pre-qualified. When the terms of reference and the detailed approach of this intervention come out, the consortia have two weeks to prepare proposal. Within two weeks we know who the winner of the bid is. That is one example.

Senator Day: Thank you for that.

The Chair: Each of you has touched on the whole-of-government approach, if we do deploy or become involved in any given conflict or theatre in the world, so that we're not helping to create those civil institutions that should be in place so these people can take care of themselves.

We're being asked to review the defence policy review, but it has been said by a number of witnesses that the foreign policy of the government isn't really being reviewed in concert with the defence policy. Do you believe Canada needs to undertake a foreign policy review to complement the present ongoing defence policy review?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: I don't think there is any need to do that. I think Foreign Affairs already has a good idea of what needs to be done out there. Because Canada had retrenched a little, the scope of things to do is legion.

I would strongly encourage the government to just get moving, start doing things and see where that leads. That's how international affairs are driven. You make your plans and then you start to change them immediately because the situation out there changes.

I don't think there is any need for review. I don't think there was need for a review on the development side, either. I think Canada has been doing this for a long time, and if we don't know what needs to be done at this point in time, perhaps there is something wrong. I don't think there is anything wrong. Collectively, we have some good ideas. Let's just start doing them.

Ms. Andersson-Charest: I agree with that point. We were involved in the international assistance policy review, and it had a similar focus as the defence policy review, with having a holistic or whole-of-government focus. But I think it's in practice where things need to be looked at to avoid continuing to work in the silos that exist within Global Affairs and other departments because that really hinders effective interventions.

Senator Beyak: My question is a simple one, but it might be a long answer. I appreciate your presentations. You answered all the questions I had.

Do you feel parliamentarians understand the work that you do, or do we need to have a better understanding?

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: Most parliamentarians would not know what we do. We're a pretty small outfit in a sense, even though we've got a roster of 26,000 and we're doing a lot of things out there. Obviously they need to rely on civil servants as our interface with what the Canadian government is doing.

I'm delighted to have been invited here and I would be delighted to meet with any of you separately, but the reality will always be that we are flying a little under the radar, and that's okay. We are small; we just get on with it.

Ms. Andersson-Charest: I think parliamentarians probably understand the work of the Parliamentary Centre better than anyone, although we are not very known to members of Parliament and senators. We have not been working in Canada for quite some years now, so we are doing our best to make sure that we're reminding you whenever we have the chance. We really appreciate this opportunity.

I think what is important is that we continue feeding the message about what Canadian organizations can do to complement efforts by the UN and other international organizations to add that approach that is so valuable. We've experienced first-hand that we were chosen as a partner because we are a bilingual organization and we take the time to listen to needs, and we target our support based on these needs.

So I think the message that we need to give to members of Parliament and senators is don't forget that we exist and that we can actually complement the work of others.

Mr. LaRose-Edwards: One short little hot pursuit: I would encourage all of you if you are interested in working internationally to register with us. We have of a number of serving senators; we have all sorts of former parliamentarians and former senators registered with us. The idea is if someone is looking for your kind of expertise, whether for a two-week mission or two-month mission or longer and you're the right individual, we would contact you. Your name never goes forward. As a matter of fact, nobody even knows you are on our roster unless you say, "Yes, put my name forward. Put my resume forward. I'm interested in that. I always wanted to go to the Central African Republic in its hottest period and stand on the front line so, yes, sign me up." So I encourage people to register.

The Chair: I want to thank our witnesses. It has been very enlightening and I am very pleased that we had this opportunity to spend this hour together.

Joining us on our third panel today are General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff; and Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross, Commander, Military Personnel Command. It's a pleasure to welcome you both back to the committee as we explore issues related to the defence policy review, UN peace support operations and, of course, issues of importance to the women and men of our military.

Before I invite you to make opening remarks, on behalf of the committee, I would like to congratulate you, Lieutenant-General Whitecross, on your recently announced promotion to head the NATO Defence College in Rome. As our most senior female officer, you make us all proud, and we know you will take on the challenges of NATO with as much passion as you brought to bear on issues under your command in Canada.

At this time, I would like to invite our Chief of the Defence Staff, General Vance, to make his opening statement. We have one hour for this panel. Please begin.

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Thank you for your introduction, Mr. Chair, senators, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for inviting me again to appear before this committee. It's a real honour to do so.

As I understand it, I've been asked specifically to speak on Operation HONOUR, but I also know that the questions can take us in many different directions. I am happy, though, to have this opportunity to provide you a brief update on our efforts under Operation HONOUR.

As you recall, this was my first order to the Canadian Armed Forces. Its objective is to eliminate harmful sexual behaviour from within our ranks. I acknowledge that this is an ambitious goal, but I will not accept a lesser target.

Joining me today is Lieutenant-General Christine Whitecross, who is supporting this operation. I will make the point here that all of my commanders are in the process of actively supporting this operation, as are all members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Like you, I'd also like to note publicly how very proud I am of General Whitecross as she was recently named the next Commandant the of NATO Defence College in Rome, a prestigious post. It's good news for NATO and great news for Canada.

I will begin with a few short remarks, following which I will be pleased to take any and all of your questions.

Mr. Chairman and senators, we are taking short- and long-term measures under Operation HONOUR. In the short term, we are supporting victims more effectively and responding more decisively to incidents, and in the long term, we will understand our military culture better as it relates to harmful behaviour and change it to ensure that all members are treated with the respect and dignity that is their due.

More effective victim support and decisive leadership will help create an environment that encourages incident reporting and ideally works to prevent. This in turn helps to build a culture that is more supportive and more responsive to the needs of our members.

[Translation]

During the first year of operation HONOUR, we focused on those immediate measures. As to victim support, the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre provides members of the military with confidential support and advice. Despite what critics say, the centre is independent from the military chain of command and focuses exclusively on victims.

In addition, we continue to improve the support we offer. Those responsible for the military chain of command have received training and information on the best way of supporting victims of sexual misconduct, as have health care workers, chaplains, the military police and legal officers. These supports encourage former victims to talk about their experiences now. In the first six months of this year, we saw a 22 per cent increase in incidents reported to the military police.

[English]

About half of these are old cases predating Operation HONOUR. This demonstrates to me that at least some of these victims now believe, perhaps for the first time, that we will hear them and take action.

Every report of a sexual offence, new or not, is investigated by dedicated teams within the Canadian Forces National Investigation Services, CFNIS. These investigators have received specialized training to deal with sexual offences and can lay criminal charges against any member of the Canadian Armed Forces.

When an investigation determines that an offence has taken place, we are taking decisive action to deal with perpetrators. Since January, 8 individuals have been convicted of sexual misconduct-related offences and another 55 have been subjected to administrative action.

[Translation]

In the most serious cases, I ordered that people be relieved of their command, or I removed them completely from our ranks because they are not worthy of being part of our organization.

Honourable senators, I can assure you and all Canadians that we are taking decisive action.

I would now like to talk about the more long-term objective of operation HONOUR, specifically as regards the change in culture. In the past, our institution was slow to recognize the need for change since so many aspects of our culture are important to us.

[English]

Like so many of my brothers and sisters in the profession of arms, I take great pride in being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces. I consider it an honour and a privilege to serve in the uniform of our country.

Our culture is what gives us the resiliency that we demonstrate today, the fortitude to have weathered the storms of world wars, Korea, UN missions and Afghanistan, but there are also aspects of our culture that have caused and still contribute to harmful, inappropriate sexual behaviour. We must identify those factors and eliminate them.

We have taken the first steps in this direction. Over the summer, more than 40,000 of our members completed a StatsCan survey on harmful sexual behaviour within our ranks. The results are being tallied and will be made available in late November. As I said a few weeks ago, I expect them to be sobering.

The survey results will give us the information we need to conduct a detailed analysis of our military culture, covering such areas as recruitment, training and education, leadership and the chain of command, the influence of social media and language, to name but three.

In conclusion, Mr. Chair, I am encouraged by the progress we have achieved to date, but incidents of harmful sexual behaviour are still occurring, and this is unacceptable. So I will continue to lead Operation HONOUR. The leadership of the Canadian Armed Forces and indeed all members will be compelled to support its execution, and we will do so until every member in uniform is treated with the respect and dignity that is their due.

Thank you for your time, and I will be happy to take your questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much, general. I want to say we appreciate very much the update on Operation HONOUR, and it's obvious you have been doing a lot of work over the last number of months in respect to that issue.

Before we begin, I'd like to lay the framework in respect to the question of international deployments and the National Defence review that we've been involved in for the last number of days. I have an overall question that we'd like to get on the record, because we read a lot in the newspaper, and sometimes it's accurate and sometimes it isn't.

Could you walk us through which three countries in Africa are being given serious consideration for deployment? And could you identify the main risks posed to Canadians in those countries? Also, can you tell us, in any deployment that would take place, what equipment or personnel needs must be met by the Canadian Armed Forces to be able to take such a deployment, and is it going to take a period of time before that equipment and personnel could be put into place?

I know that's a series of questions, but the committee would like to be updated.

Gen. Vance: Thank you, Mr. Chair and senators. I'm grateful for the question.

In fact, what I'm doing right now to support government decision making — and ultimately I'll be in a position to provide advice to government — is to look at all of the ongoing UN missions around the globe and make an assessment that follows the following logic.

One is to look at the nature of the conflict itself. So whether this is occurring in Colombia, in the Middle East where there are UN missions or in Africa where there are missions, look at the nature of the conflict and then make an assessment of what would need to be done to address the nature of the conflict. Then look at what the UN is doing under its mandate to address the nature of the conflict and determine whether or not there are any gaps or whether the UN mission is effectively pointed at the heart of the problem. Then look at what Canada could contribute to any one of those missions to make a real difference on the ground to directly address the nature of the conflict, the resolution thereof or to prevent further conflict.

And I've not completed this study. It's only at that point where I'll be prepared to look at what is out there in terms of the things Canada could do, make my assessment and offer advice as to what Canada might do. It’s then up to the Government of Canada to determine what we will do.

This is a process. You've heard the minister speak on this repeatedly, and I'm grateful, frankly, for the wisdom of giving us the space necessary to do a full assessment, right from the root of the conflict all the way through to what might be done about it. I will put that before the minister and, ultimately, for decision making as we determine where best Canada can contribute to actual progress in terms of anything that can be done as it relates to the nature of the conflict and what the UN is doing.

Now, you've also asked about risks. The risks change and are different between and throughout mission areas. Therefore, as it relates to the equipment that we would bring, the training that we'll do, the numbers of forces that would be put into play, whether we play a direct role on the ground or an indirect role through capacity building, all options in terms of what the military, along with a whole-of-government approach, may bring to actually addressing the nature of the conflict and doing some good are what's in play right now. When the minister speaks of doing the assessment, this is exactly what's going on.

My staff and I are working very hard, have done reconnaissance efforts, will continue to do reconnaissance across the continent of Africa and elsewhere to understand exactly what it is we might do. I will try and build options for government as to how it is that we might best contribute.

I think the "start state" of the Canadian Armed Forces in terms of its expertise to provide capacity building, technical expertise, enablers or, indeed, troops on the ground to deal with the challenges, again in the context of a larger whole and including multiple government department efforts is very good. I think we are well poised to do the necessary military tasks in some of these conflict areas.

I never let pass an opportunity to remind people that in most instances the nature of the conflict and the things that you can do about it, maybe 20 per cent of it can be managed by the military. The other 80 per cent speaks to root causes, speaks to challenges of the nations they are dealing with, and no matter how much military force you put at it, it's unlikely to solve the root causes.

That said, I am confident that UN operations and Canadian Armed Forces in those operations can contribute to the necessary condition-setting and can contribute to establishing secure environments, protection of civilians, improvement of the performance of the UN forces, a whole range of things that will contribute fully to that part that the military can do. But I must insist always to state that it takes more than just the military to solve these challenges, which largely sit in social, political and economic space.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much for your presentation. Before I start, I want to take this opportunity to thank you and, through you, the men and women who work for you, to say to them thanks for the service they give. I've had first-hand experience working with our men and women in Darfur and South Sudan. The communities used to say that they would come during the day, they would work, and in the evening they would build orphanages. I'm very proud to say this is what our men and women in uniform do. So thank you for the work you do.

Gen. Vance: Thank you.

Senator Jaffer: In your statement today you spoke about the challenges with sexual assault. I have followed this very carefully, and I can genuinely look you in the eye and say that you have made so much progress, and you certainly have taken on this issue. I commend you for the work you've done. Certainly in the last year or so, you've made great progress.

That is where I am so optimistic that if you go in the field, especially with peace operations, what you have learned here, you could use that. We know the terrible challenges the peacekeepers and the civilian population have, so I'm hoping what you have learned you can help others to learn as well.

General Vance, I'm sure you think a lot about this when you think of peace operations, and I'd like your opinion. I am very concerned about the impunity that exists, not here but with the peacekeepers overseas, and I will leave this thought with you. I'm hoping that you will lead the way to stop this impunity.

I've just come from a conflict zone, and one of the reasons women have lost faith in peacekeeping is because they felt that they get away with. That is the word; they get away with it — impunity. So I leave that thought with you.

The chair talked about risk. I can't think of a more risky situation than the one you had in Afghanistan with a NATO force. No place in Africa is as risky as Afghanistan, so risk exists anywhere you go.

My bigger question to you is on strategic intelligence, knowledge that you can provide. We talk about numbers, and I see from things that we have been provided that at the moment you have around 103 men and women in peace operations, approximately. I think where Canada can add — and I'd like your input — is not the numbers you provide but the competency and the strategic planning. You have seen that happen, and I think that that's where our strength lies. I would like your opinion on that.

Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.

I won't necessarily address all of the points that you made, but in general I agree with you that the performance of UN contingents needs to continue to improve. There are a lot of UN forces deployed, and the UN as a body and the nations that provide those forces deserve to have them operate at a very high level of competence and expertise and with respect for populations. Failure to do so could simply add fuel to an already damaging situation, so I could not agree with you more. When a UN force arrives and is employed, things should improve across the board, and if they do not, then I think all of us would have issues with that.

As for your comment relating to the strategic influence that we can have as a country with the unique and high-value assets the Canadian Armed Forces can bring to bear, I agree with you. I think that it not only resides in the area of equipping or the things that are equipment-based, such as aircraft, intelligence collection and dissemination capability, our de-mining, our counter-IED people. All of that also has the marriage between the platform and the people.

I think the most valuable resource that Canada will put to this will be its people, Canadian Armed Forces people or people working in whole-of-government, that will take the view that I described earlier, where we understand the nature of the conflict. We understand what it is that needs to be done. What is it that the UN or other organs are trying to get done? Are there any gaps? Is there anything that we can help with in terms of the very nature of the mandate or in the execution of the mandate that exists? So I think we will bring to bear a powerful analytical skill set with our people and then try to be practically useful within a very focused, strategic effort, to make a real difference.

I know there are skeptics. I am an eternal optimist in many ways as it relates to the employment of force, but I'm also a realist. I think that we have to look very practically at what it is that we can do. Look hard to put the right forces in the right place at the right time to achieve those effects. We can't solve everything, but we can do some good.

I'm certainly looking at this as a long-term effort where — and I've said this many times — the best use of military force, in many respects, is conflict prevention in the first place. If you can't prevent it, try to mitigate it. Try to eliminate harm as you do so. Try to seek conflict termination conditions. Sometimes that means the use of force, sometimes a lot of force, but ultimately it has to lead to something. So one of the things that the Canadian influence, I hope, will be is to try to lead to some conclusive improvement, and we will bring whatever assets to bear in a timely way, keeping in mind that at the centre of that are our great people.

The Chair: Colleagues, time is running on for us. We have five senators who have questions. I would ask that the preambles for the questioners be somewhat short, and I would ask the general — I know he can be concise.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: I would like to thank our witnesses. Since there is no preamble, I will proceed with the questions right away.

General Vance, a number of witnesses have told us this week that peacekeeping missions, such as the one we are involved in in Africa, are political operations. The witnesses have even said that decisions were made at the political and diplomatic level.

Can you tell us how that works? Can this hierarchy sometimes put our servicemen and women in danger? In my opinion, they have the best training to assess the dangers.

Gen. Vance: I would like to answer in English, if you don’t mind.

Senator Dagenais: By all means.

Gen. Vance: That is a very good question. I am more comfortable in English, I’m sorry.

Senator Dagenais: Of course.

[English]

Gen. Vance: Senator, it's an important question. I am of the opinion that organizations like the United Nations and a number of coalitions and alliances we belong to that seek to deal with conflict in a way and ways to prevent it, to ameliorate it, to reduce its impact, to mitigate the consequences of conflict, to seek termination conditions as peacefully as possible and, where we use force, to protect ourselves or to achieve those limited military objectives that eventually lead to a peace, that is certainly the doctrine that I espouse. That, in my view, is the doctrine that I would argue most Western militaries espouse.

I can think of no chief of defence that I know or work with around the world that wouldn't first try to find ways to prevent the conflict, to mitigate it. The use of force should never be done just for the sake of using force. I think that's a bit of a motherhood statement, but sometimes people misconstrue what it is that a military can do. We set conditions for better things to happen. That's the intent. That's the ultimate objective.

So I believe that the UN is a valuable institution through which, given a correct analysis and a correct application of military forces, those forces can help to lead to the other things that need to occur in the political, social and economic space to provide real and long-term change.

Sometimes it takes a great deal of time to set those conditions. Peace support operations, peacekeeping, operations that seek to reduce harm, to protect people while larger political decisions and economic decisions are ongoing, those are valuable too, but they've got to be effective and they've got to lead to something. They've got to lead to a better condition, ultimately to the very nature of the reasons why there's a problem there in the first place.

So I reject the notion that this is done simply for political reasons and putting troops in harm's way, into risky areas, for anything other than the true merits of the value of the use of military force.

I will wrap up here, Mr. Chair, because I know that you want me to be concise.

Anywhere you need to use the military as opposed to any other instrument of government is, by definition, risky. It is, by definition, an environment that demands more than what you could do with any other group of people. So the fact that risk exists ought not to be the main reason why you wouldn't deploy. It's a factor. We would mitigate the risk, and we're experts at doing that.

But a risky mission that has great potential for success may be a mission that you want to invest in, and in the military, we do risk. We're good at that, if we can mitigate it. If the risk is not mitigatable and is out of all proportion and at the same time there's no hope of moving forward, then it's probably the wrong mandate and it would very likely be a mandate on which I would advise the government that it would need to do more work with the UN before you would commit troops.

So we find ourselves in an excellent position right now to ponder missions for our military that will address, appropriately, some of the most challenging conflicts of our age, and that's where the UN is right now.

The Chair: Senator Dagenais, do you have a quick follow-up?

Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your answer, General Vance. I have another question for Lieutenant-General Whitecross.

[Translation]

We hear a lot about what women have to offer on peacekeeping missions. Do you have any specific examples of the number of women and the role they will play in missions such as the one in Africa?

Lt.-Gen. Christine Whitecross, Commander, Military Personnel Command, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: I will answer in English if I may.

[English]

Thanks for that question.

I would offer that when women in uniform are deployed on any type of operation, you're getting a different perspective on the situation on the ground. It allows you to communicate, in some cases, with different partners on the ground that you wouldn't necessarily get if you were only a mission of men. I think we learned that very well in Afghanistan. It's not just women. I would venture to say it's also anybody of different cultural backgrounds. It allows you to expand your force-enabling functions, as it were, on the ground.

I would also offer that in many ways we think differently in terms of impacts to, perhaps, some of the softer things, whether it's women's issues or vulnerable populations, and it gives us an ability to provide a better option to the operational decision making on the ground because you're getting a far more holistic or comprehensive look at the situation.

Gen. Vance: I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, UN Security Council Resolution 1325 recognizes the fact that the addition of women into and the use of a gender-based analysis framework and tool set to look at conflict is the only way to look at it in its entirety. Many of these conflicts have men in the forefront, women are behind, and of course the solution to a state or national tragedy needs to affect the whole population, not just men.

As I said before, you can't necessarily do it with military force alone. It needs to be a holistic effect. Gender-based analysis is what we've adopted, along with many of our allies, as a way to look more holistically at the nature of the conflict. It means that you operationalize your employment of women; you operationalize your ability to perceive and change the impact on the ground to women, vulnerable populations and so on.

Tangential to this, but not exactly part of it, would be some of the child soldier initiatives that are ongoing.

You can't go in and just use one blunt instrument to deal with some of these challenges, and gender-based analysis, plus the role of women in the field, seeks to address this.

Senator Kenny: Welcome, general. My first question is along the lines of Senator Dagenais' first question, and it has to do with force protection and how you will mitigate risks. I'm looking for examples that the public will relate to, because they're going to have a say, eventually, in whether we should pursue these missions in the future. I dare say that the debate that's coming up in Parliament will also touch on that question. I think it would be very helpful if you could give us some examples of how one goes about minimizing the risks to soldiers on peace support operations.

Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.

Force protection is a baseline factor that we always consider no matter what operation we are going on and no matter where we are. We tailor the force in terms of its composition, its training, the equipment that it has and the rules of engagement that it follows to ensure that it is well-equipped to deal with the obvious threats, as well as the changes to the threat environment that could occur.

Specifically, in mitigation, I issue the ROE to the troops. They're issued under my authority. Our troops do not operate under UN ROE; they operate under Canadian ROE. I never relinquish Canadian command of those troops. At no time do Canadians operate outside of the full command of the Chief of the Defence staff. Yes, they will be given tactical missions by UN commanders, but these are Canadian ROE.

We have learned a lot since the days of Bosnia and Rwanda, and one thing we've learned is you're never out from under Canadian command, or their ROE. To that end, I'm able to determine the sufficient force required to mitigate and respond to and protect our troops. I make certain that that goes in there as I deploy and tailor the force to go in.

It is clear that sometimes the UN will not ask for the total force package that we think is necessary to go in and assure force protection. In instances like that, we have the ability to do voluntary national contributions or, in fact, work to change the nature of that which has been requested through the UN and DPKO to get the right force package on the ground because in our opinion it needs more force.

I'll give you a specific case in point. The Dutch went into northern Mali to respond to that mission's requirement for forces in the north and the ability to prevent violence up there. They brought in attack helicopters, patrols, snipers and special forces, and introduced the notion of intelligence gathering for the first time in that mission. That was happily accepted by the UN because that was the military instrument required for the job.

We're going to do the same thing. The lowest common denominator will not be just looking at what the UN is asking for. We will also put a Canadian stamp on anything we do, anywhere. We have learned the lessons of the past.

We also have the ability to produce very good tactical, operational and strategic indicators and warnings in terms of potential danger to our troops, and we can provide and change the equipping on the ground, on the fly, if we need to.

Finally, I would say that anywhere we go in the world, we ensure there are national command elements — someone in charge — in proximity to them that understand completely what is going on, on the ground. They may be outside the UN chain of command but looking at Canadian interests. If there's a problem, we will react very quickly.

Senator Kenny: The last time you were here, general, we talked about how the JUSTAS project wasn't meeting expectations. Our impression now is that it's still not meeting expectations and not moving forward. Can you give the committee some advice about how we should best look at that issue to see what's causing the delay? JUSTAS, UAVs: Where are they going in the Armed Forces? Why don't we have a program that's functioning? It's been here for a decade and we're seeing no progress.

Gen. Vance: Senator, with all due respect, you may not be seeing it, but it is a project on our books. We are in the process of a significant policy review that will look at all aspects of equipping the Armed Forces into the future. You've heard the minister speak of looking holistically at the systems that we bring to bear. The very fact that we're doing a policy review will help us prioritize and fund the program that is considered essential to achieving the policy. That's where JUSTAS sits right now. It's inside a wider effort on policy review.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: Welcome. I have been listening to witnesses for weeks, since we started working on this file, and we have heard and noted that the investment in our armed forces is insufficient. We made a commitment to NATO to spend 2% of our GDP on the military, yet we are having trouble spending 1%.

We have to increase our presence in Africa, along the coasts, but we are having difficulty. As a country, we have the longest shoreline in the world and probably the fewest patrols and boats per thousand kilometers of coastline. There are also problems with respect to training the reserve. Moreover, I have heard you say that we should have an impact or at least make a significant difference.

I am watching what is happening in Africa right now. Economically speaking, China is everywhere. It will establish its first military base outside China by camping 10,000 soldiers in Africa. More than 100,000 blue helmets are already deployed in various countries in Africa.

How can Canada make a significant difference in Africa as part of a peacekeeping mission with the resources it has, the priorities it must consider, and the omnipresence of other countries that have strategic economic interests to protect? How can we make a significant difference? How many soldiers do we have to send in order to have an impact? What should we do?

I think it is an impossible mission which is both symbolic and political.

[English]

Gen. Vance: Senator, quite frankly I don't share your assessment that it is mission impossible. What you've described in terms of our mission sets, in terms of where we want to get to in the North, what we're doing in the maritime space, is valuable. I'd add to that a significant presence in Europe, continuing efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, ongoing defence and security of Canadians across the country from coast to coast to coast, our ability to respond to counterterrorism incidents and our ongoing mission in the Middle East. There is a lot that the Canadian Armed Forces is doing and is absolutely capable of doing.

The nature of the defence policy review is to get a good view of all that and make the necessary decisions by the Government of Canada to determine where it wants to go in the future. As it applies right now, the force right now is fully capable of doing that which has already been announced. Regarding operations in Europe and the Middle East, the Prime Minister and the minister have announced 400 to 600 Canadians in uniform to be involved in UN operations, which some or all may be in Africa. We have not made those decisions yet. We have ongoing commitments inside the North, in Canada, to NORAD and our efforts in Asia-Pacific.

Because of the way we train, the expertise of our people and the equipment and human capital that Canada can bring to bear, 400 to 600 Canadians will make a difference. We know this already; we see it all the time. Yes, you can send large numbers from other countries around the world, and they do a good job, too, but it doesn't take away from the fact of adding to the very nature of what it is that we're trying to do in terms of addressing the nature of a conflict and trying to do something good.

I would take one issue with how you described my opening comment. You said that I said we would make a significant difference. I didn't say "significant." I said "make a difference." But making a difference over the long term in a place like Africa, the Middle East, or anywhere else where there's a UN operation, every bit counts. As a nation that trains and prepares its military well, we have the ability to make an impact that is out of proportion to the numbers of people we have on the ground.

I believe that is true, but we have to set ourselves realistic, wise missions to do. It's not just throwing Canadians at a problem. As I described previously, I'm doing a detailed analysis of what needs to be done to address the nature of the problem. What is it that the UN thinks it's going to do and is that enough? Is it too little? Are there gaps that Canada can help with, or does the mandate need to change completely because it's pointed at the wrong thing? And then we bring to bear, after careful analysis and advice to government, the best possible military solution that will only, as we know, address about 20 per cent of the problem anyway. Military forces are unlikely to be the ones that solve all of it, but we can contribute to it.

What we will also bring to bear is the weight of the analysis of what we as a country can do. What is the best thing to get done? How can we do that? Whether there are 400, 600 or 10,000, every little bit helps.

I would make a point that we have discussed and had the Chinese reach out to us in terms of helping them, collaborating with them on peace support operations. We have things that we can offer. We have international expeditionary and operational experience that they do not. I think there are ways that a few Canadians could help that 10,000 perform better. You don't always have to be the one holding the bayonet to make things go well. You can have a wider influence.

I honestly believe that 600 Canadians there, another 400 or so in Latvia, also on a pretty significant peace operation to deter any aggression into Europe, Canadians trying to do capacity building in the Middle East and Canadians in uniform supporting government objectives in Asia-Pacific all contribute to the wider effort by the Government of Canada to contribute to international peace and stability; so 600 will count.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: The Auditor General told us that the difference between the investments in training reserve members and in training force members could pose a considerable risk — not to say "significant" — in terms of the training and equipment provided. I do not want to take out my steno notes to see what was said because this is not a cross-examination.

Can you tell us about what you have done or what you intend to do to follow up on the Auditor General’s report to ensure that these deficiencies in training or investment in equipment do not result in loss of life on a peacekeeping mission?

[English]

Gen. Vance: We have accepted the Auditor General's report. Most of the report indicated challenges of record-keeping regarding how the reserves were trained, which pointed to, perhaps, a deficit in terms of how they were trained and equipped.

I can assure you, and everybody that is interested, that we will not deploy reservists that are ill-prepared for operations; we just won't. We don't do that. I think the legacy of our operations in Afghanistan, where we proudly had up to 25 per cent of task forces deployed, we made an important point. Every visitor that came to Afghanistan saw that, hey, there's no difference between regular and reserve. That's because we have a good training regime that ensures pre-deployment training and equipping. So if there is something that a reservist is missing in terms of a skill set, that gets topped up before they go.

Now, I do acknowledge, and we will be addressing it in the defence policy review, that we need to look broadly at the reserves. We need to look at the investment in the reserves. We need to make certain that the baseline capacity and equipping of the reserves in Canada meets the objectives of how it is that we would employ the reserves. So I acknowledge that.

I assure you that it is my job, the job of the army commander and ultimately the job of the minister to make certain that we completely eliminate those risks by making certain that the people that are deployed are well prepared to deploy. And that is the legacy, in that case, of the Army Reserve. That's the legacy that we have and that we'll continue with. We need to look more widely, then, at the care after deployment with reserves, to make sure they are properly reintegrated and their mental health is accounted for as well as we do with the regular force.

I appreciate the question because it gives me an opportunity to perhaps dispel this sense that we would simply take someone who is ill-prepared and send them on operations. We don't roll that way. We don't work that way; we never have, never will.

Senator Beyak: My heartiest congratulations to you, General Whitecross, and my admiration.

I want to commend you both for your work on Operation HONOUR as well. We want to remind Canadians that a few bad apples shouldn't spoil the whole bunch. We have an honourable history of world-class Canadian Armed Forces, and the actions of a few have to be addressed but not to the detriment of everybody else.

General Vance, given your previous personal experience as part of UN peacekeeping missions, can you tell us the key lessons you learned and how you plan on avoiding the pitfalls in the future? You already addressed it in your answer to Senator Kenny.

Personally, I believe Canada is one of the only countries in the world where the Department of National Defence is not controlling the procurement. It's done by Public Works. Is that true? I don't think that seems like a good idea. Has there been any consideration to bringing this back under DND, to streamline the bureaucracy and the overly complex system of procurements?

Canadians ask me all the time: Why does every government overturn the procurement process of the one before? It costs a lot of money to renew the contracts, to get out of the contracts, to pay the interest. It seems like a lot of waste.

Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.

On the UN question, I think we've learned a great deal about operations in general over the last couple of decades because things have changed. The world has changed. They changed as we went into a different kind of peacekeeping in Sarajevo; they changed in the Balkans; they changed again on 9/11. The nature and character of conflict has at its root some enduring characteristics, but how it manifests itself and what we do in conflict to try to get to an improved outcome is changing, and it's changing all the time.

I think the most enduring lesson learned is very much like our minister has been speaking of: You need to understand the situation. You need to assess the situation. You need to understand exactly what it is that you might get done out of that and what the military force that you bring to bear would do as part of a wider effort.

The advent of comprehensive approach, whole-of-government, 3D is relatively new. That means that we acknowledge that the military is not necessarily the solution, but it can lead or set conditions to a solution. It can help sometimes, and sometimes it cannot.

So understanding when to use force and when not to use force, when to use military, when not to use military, that too is part of the art and science of all of this. Making certain that there are some outcomes that are worthy of pursuing and that have half a chance of getting done, given the mandate and the way forces are arrayed, is an enduring lesson for me.

We do need to understand that intractable conflicts sometimes take time. Most of the conflicts that we're dealing with today, where UN forces are today, are long and intractable and take and use the UN presence as a matter of a stabilizing influence, an influence that helps mitigate the conflict and prevents it from getting worse, reduction to the harm that comes, while the important social, political and economic work happens to address what's really behind all of it, the nature of the conflict itself.

As for procurement, I'm quite satisfied in my own mind that where the Canadian Armed Forces sits, what my job is, is a stated requirement. I look at the policy that the Government of Canada has as it relates to defence. What is it that you want us to be able to do in the Armed Forces? How well and how long do you want us to do it? I look at all the factors. I determine from that, through a number of different processes, and it's ongoing, how we need to do that. Is there any delta or deficit between what you're asking me to do and what I can do? I think that's the appropriate place for the military to be.

With regard to the wider procurement effort, I agree with you that it does get looked at a lot. It needs to be looked at a lot. It's complex business. It's stewardship of the public purse. It is trying to do the right thing and looking at horizons that can go out 40 or 50 years as you're buying major capital equipment.

I'm quite satisfied that the process that's in place, where Defence states a requirement. The actual procurement effort is a wider, multi-department effort led by the procurement department, but then Defence has a role in that. So we're not absent from the process.

As your CDS, I am able to state the requirement and that's what I need to be able to do. Yes, there is always room for improvement. One cannot say otherwise.

The Chair: Thank you, general. We're going to go a little over time, if that's okay. We do have a number of other questioners.

Senator Day: General, you can see from the wide range of questions that this is an area generally that this committee is very concerned about and interested in.

I'd like to focus on your presentation and the harmful sexual behaviour aspect while you're here and while General Whitecross is still within reach. I'd like to thank you and commend you very much since you've taken over as chief to say this is a priority and we will be dealing with this. Part of dealing with this, in my view, is deterrence and communication. That's why I'd like to spend a little bit of time fully understanding your points.

You mentioned that since January, eight individuals have been convicted of sexual misconduct-related offences. Are all eight of those individuals now gone from the Armed Forces?

Gen. Vance: Senator, I'll take that one on notice. I don't know their exact disposition as of this moment. Sometimes the majority of them would be, or they are incarcerated and will be, or they're going through a process. So I'll have to take that on notice in terms of the actual disposition of those eight cases.

Senator Day: Thank you for that.

You mentioned that another 55 had been subjected to career-impacting administrative action, and then you go on to say that some have been relieved of their duties and some have been dismissed from the Armed Forces. I think it's important from a communications point of view that we understand just what action is being taken and that this is being treated as a serious situation.

In a number of different paragraphs in your presentation you refer to culture. You say that one of the longer term goals of Operation HONOUR is to change culture. Now, are you talking about culture within the military, or are you talking about Canadian culture generally? Have we done any analysis and comparative study between our Canadian Armed Forces and other armed forces, maybe within NATO or otherwise, of friends that could help us in doing this study to determine whether this is a military culture that we need to change or if it is something peculiar to Canada?

Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator. There are a range of questions there.

I will take on notice, in fact, to provide you the disposition, to the extent that we can — acknowledging that there are privacy issues around people who are undergoing administrative sanctions — the best possible exposure of the details of all they are doing.

Senator Day: Yes. I understand that.

Gen. Vance: I have to agree with you from the outset, though, that part of doing an increasingly better job on Operation HONOUR is to get the data. We're early into it yet. Get the data but also communicate that data to people. We have to do a better job of that. I acknowledge that in the report. I have taken on and asked General Whitecross and the team working on this to better and more completely expose people to the punitive efforts that have gone on.

Deterrence is one part of it. This first year we focused on victim support. We focused on making sure that victims had a voice and on the chain of command to ensure that they took a victims-first approach. That is increasingly getting better, and I think the results bear that out. Nonetheless, I can't let up on that; victim support first and always.

Senator Day: Yes.

Gen. Vance: But at the same time we want to try to prevent. Culture will change through many avenues. One of them will be to ensure that people know it is unacceptable behaviour and what behaviour is unacceptable, and failure to abide by those standards will result in punishment. So it's got to be clear, plain and well-communicated. We need to do a better job at that. We will be undertaking that before the next six-month report, but I couldn't agree with you more; people need to see the results.

At the same time, these are also my people in the Armed Forces. I need to give them due process, the respect of privacy where it's warranted and so on.

I just want to make certain I answer your question completely here.

Senator Day: A comparative study would be helpful, if we knew some of that was going on.

Gen. Vance: Right.

I think all Western Armed Forces that I know of and am familiar with are dealing with this in one form or another. And I think all societies through other institutions — be they universities or other organizations, even professional sports teams — are dealing with this in its different forms.

Suffice it to say that military leadership, the chiefs of defence that I speak with and certainly inside Canada, the stakes are so high in an armed forces where the corrosive influence of this inside the ranks can detract from morale, can detract from operational focus, can prevent people from wanting to join the Armed Forces, which indeed would mitigate badly against our ability to increase the diversity in the Armed Forces because diversity is increasingly the strength of military operations.

The nature of conflict, as you heard General Whitecross describe, needs a broader cross-section of people involved in it. So bringing more women into the Armed Forces — and I've pledged to try to get to 1 per cent per year over the next 10 years to increase the percentage of women in the Armed Forces for the very reasons that diversity, not just with women, but with indigenous people, visible minorities — increases our operational capability. I admit that I'm doing this for perhaps operationally selfish reasons. It's not just a good thing to do; it's a good thing to do because it makes us better in conflict, and that's why we're doing it.

Senator Day: I have a question with respect to the 40,000-member survey that you have just completed and what you're going to do with that. Part of it is to analyze the harmful sexual behaviour within the ranks, but then you go on to talk about a detailed analysis of military culture. There's the word "culture" again. In that study, you refer to a number of things that I don't have time to get into, but I would like to know whether part of that study, or otherwise, will deal with the high frequency of suicide within the military.

Gen. Vance: Thank you, senator.

This won't point specifically at suicides. I think that's another body of work that we're undertaking, and we would be delighted to return, at the chairman's request, to talk specifically about the care of our people, ill and injured, and suicide.

I suspect there are some crossover points where someone's life has been altered as a result of sexual misconduct to the point that they considered or have acted out on suicide, but I don't have those stats, and the StatsCanada survey won't necessarily answer that for us.

I can say, though, very briefly that culture is a mix of a whole bunch of different factors that make us who we are. I think broadly speaking that our culture in the Armed Forces is positive. We value health and fitness. We value adherence to rules and regulations. We value those things that Canadians value, and in fact we try to represent Canada effectively in the world. We value discipline. We are an instrument that, yes, is capable of using force, but it's governed. It's managed carefully when we do so.

So there are a lot of parts of our culture that are good, but there is a part of our culture that perhaps in the course of doing all sorts of other good things devalues individuals in some instances, does not recognize that the nature of conflict is changing so rapidly and the issues of diversity, of being diverse, being capable of taking care of your own, indeed being good to one another, will transmit into better operational capability. Warriors treat each other well. They always have and they always will. You even treat an opposing side well when they put their hands up.

So I think it's deep-seated. It will take a long time, but we can certainly start to deal with behaviours.

The Chair: Thank you, general.

I believe Senator Kenny wanted a final question as well.

Senator Kenny: General, we're assuming that you will be using CJOC to command and control the peacekeeping missions overseas. If that's the case, would it be possible for you to arrange for the committee meet CJOC and go out to Star Top and get briefings out there?

Gen. Vance: Mr. Chair, I'd be delighted to extend the invitation now for the committee to come to CJOC at your convenience. I would recommend, as it relates specifically to peace support operations, that you allow the analysis period to be done and the government decision making and the initial work that will be necessary to commence the deployments and scope the deployments. But I think there would be a point in time in the future where a visit to CJOC would be valuable to see what's unfolding and how it's unfolding.

Senator Kenny: It was in the context of the report that we're preparing for the minister. How soon is it due?

The Chair: Well, it will be the next couple of weeks, in November.

Gen. Vance: I see.

Mr. Chairman, I'd be delighted for you to visit any part of the Armed Forces any time you want. Specifically, if you think it would be of value to go to CJOC headquarters and get the view of the world from the operational level, I'd be delighted and I hereby extend an invitation to you.

The Chair: General, before we conclude, my initial question was which three countries were the priority countries in Africa under consideration for the purposes of possible deployment. Could you give us those three countries so that we understand on the record just exactly what we are seriously considering? Because we read everything in the newspaper.

Gen. Vance: Mr. Chair, I'm not prepared at this point. I'm not working with priority countries. There is no such thing as priority countries. I'm looking at Africa, broadly speaking, and where the UN missions are in Africa. I'm looking globally as to where UN missions are, and we'll do an analysis, as I described to you earlier.

As to the notion that there are priority countries or not, I am not using that. That's not governing me. I'm looking at it more holistically than that.

The Chair: We can accept that. Just following up on that, what time frame are we dealing with? Are we dealing with another 60 days? You must have a timeline that you're moving on to try to make a decision. Can we get a better understanding of what we're dealing with as far as time?

Gen. Vance: On when the government would make a decision on what the missions are? Is that what you're asking me?

The Chair: Yes.

Gen. Vance: I’m not in a position to be — that's a question best for my minister.

The Chair: I'll leave it at that for you in that respect.

I have one other immediate question that perhaps you want to speak to us about. It's come to our attention that there's been the removal of the defence minister, the finance minister and the resignation of the interior minister in Iraq, which is obviously causing political instability. What effect will that have in respect to our participation with the troops that we have there?

Gen. Vance: Some of those removals are dated, had occurred in the past, and we were absolutely well aware of them.

To put it briefly, the situation in Iraq is such that the removal of the threat of Daesh and its military capacity, which may come in the months ahead, is but one part of a wider challenge in that region.

I have said it today and I'll say it again: the military can address a subset of the problems, can set conditions. We are operating right now to ensure that the clear and present danger of a military or violent overthrow of the government of Iraq and casting Iraq and the region into chaos at the hands of Daesh is not going to happen, and we've, in fact, reversed that. At some point Daesh will be militarily less significant or insignificant, dismantled in Iraq.

However, Iraq as a functioning, successful unitary state moving into the future with influences and influencers all around its internal, political, economic and social challenges will also need to be addressed. My belief is that the work we're doing now militarily in Iraq is the first step in a long journey to ensure the success of that region into the future. Eliminating Daesh as an entity in Iraq and Syria doesn't solve all of the problems of Iraq and Syria. It removes some of the "needed-to-be-removed" to prevent further chaos, but there's lots of other work that needs to be done.

So as to the effect of political instability, I can't comment specifically on those ministers, whether it's good, bad or indifferent. But political stability, the rule of law and democratic principles being followed, all of that is of huge importance to the long-term success of Iraq.

We prevented a short-term calamity that would have been the Islamic State in Baghdad, but there's lots more to go.

The Chair: Colleagues, I would like to thank General Vance and Commander Whitecross for being here this afternoon. We want to thank you for the work you do on behalf of the men and women in uniform, as well as the Canadian public.

Lieutenant-General, again, please accept our congratulations on your appointment to NATO.

Joining us for our fourth panel of the day is Commodore Brian Santarpia, Director General, Plans, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence. The Strategic Joint Staff role is to provide military analysis, strategic direction, support and advice to the Chief of the Defence Staff of the Canadian Armed Forces. The Strategic Joint Staff is composed of five divisions, each representing a distinctive area of expertise: operations, support, plans, strategic initiatives, and coordination.

Commodore, welcome to the committee. I understand you have an opening statement. Please begin, sir.

[Translation]

Commodore Brian Santarpia, Director General, Plans, Strategic Joint Staff, National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces: Mr. Chair, members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity today to discuss the Canadian Armed Forces’ capabilities for peace support operations.

Just before I get into that, I’d like to quickly explain what I do. As you said, I am here representing Major-General Charles Lamarre, the Director of Staff of the Strategic Joint Staff. That’s the organization that provides advice and support to the CDS. I am the Director General Plans, which means I lead the preliminary stages of planning in conjunction with other government departments and with other elements of the Canadian Armed Forces.

With that said, I’ll get to Peace Support Operations. My first point is that this is not a theoretical discussion. The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations currently oversees 16 peace support operations, and Canada currently has 28 personnel deployed on five UN missions. A further 70 personnel are deployed as part of the Multi-National Force and Observers, a non-UN peacekeeping mission in the Sinai, and five personnel are deployed as part of a NATO mission in support of the UN in Kosovo.

However, what I intend to discuss is our capacity to project more robust forces on Peace Support Operations. Allow me to quickly explain how I will frame my remarks. I will start with a review of our doctrine for Peace Support Operations. I will then outline our capabilities. I will explain what the United Nations actually requires, and will conclude by summarizing how these three points intersect.

[English]

The Canadian Armed Forces' doctrine places peace support operations on a spectrum or continuum of conflict. Imagine a line with peace at one end and nuclear war at the other. Between these two extremes lie overlapping natures of conflict, such as peace support operations, counter-insurgency, conventional war and so on. Peace support operations, depending on the nature of the particular conflict, can span from benign traditional peacekeeping operations all the way to conventional war in a peace enforcement environment; in other words, at that high-end moment of initial-entry peace enforcement. The most aggressive weapons of the Canadian Armed Forces’ arsenal, from CF-18s to Leopard 2 tanks to submarines, may be appropriate. This isn't to say that we'll be using those platforms on every mission, but to say that there is no such thing as a peace support operation-specific capability. Everything that we have may be used on a mission, depending on the nature of that mission.

This brings me to the less theoretical and more practical portion of the discussion on the capabilities we actually have. These can be summarized in three points: We can do it, we can enable it, and we can teach it.

Firstly, we can do it by generating scalable task groups ranging from individual observers to large formations based on sea, land, air and special operations forces. These groupings can address threats across the whole spectrum of conflict. This includes peace support operations. By virtue of a training system that emphasizes coordination of capabilities and effects from the start, our forces are very good at reorganizing into task-tailored groups for different missions. Our training system is also very good at ensuring all soldiers, sailors and aviators have solid foundation skills and it is adaptive to ensure that the final stages of mission-specific training are appropriate for the theatre in which our forces will be deployed. We also understand that the UN has its own validation criteria, and we are prepared to meet UN requirements in screening and training validation.

Secondly, enabling UN missions is an area where we can play an outsized role. While the UN is rarely short on infantry manpower, its missions are frequently struggling to maintain a critical mass of specialized logistics and what we call enablers. These are the kinds of capabilities that exist primarily in developed nations' forces that have the budgets and technical expertise to maintain such things as advanced field hospitals, helicopters and heavy air lift, explosive ordnance disposal, counter-improvised explosive device capabilities, route clearance packages, unmanned aerial systems and intelligence surveillance reconnaissance capabilities.

We have these capabilities. We don't have them in high numbers and we may have to explore burden sharing with partner nations if we want to commit for a long-term mission, but these are the capabilities that make UN missions vastly more effective. So, too, do the highly trained staff officers who can coordinate all of these capabilities to make sure that the sum of a multinational force is greater than the whole of its parts. Not only are our staff officers well trained, but by virtue of Canada always operating as part of an alliance or coalition, our staff officers are experienced in managing the added layers of complexity introduced in multinational headquarters.

[Translation]

In addition to their experience and training in coordinating resources, Canada’s staff officers bring an additional capability to the mission in their bilingualism. While many of our partner nations have multilingual officers, they do not all have functional capabilities in English and French, which are among the most critical languages in UN missions. Further, the UN is constantly asking for larger uniformed female participation. We are in a position where we have a female presence at all deployable rank levels of our forces, who are not only highly skilled in their specific trades and jobs, but who can provide role models to the female population in post-conflict societies.

Thirdly, we have a number of means of teaching peace support operations. You have already heard about the Peace Support Training Centre, but we have other programs currently focused on training foreign forces. We have the means and experience to train soldiers and officers in individual skills, such as basic soldiering or staff planning and leadership skills. We can train them in collective skills, working from section to battalion levels or higher.

We can train them in mission-specific tasks, or in support tasks, and we can either do this here in Canada or abroad, either in a mission location or in support of a third nation preparing to deploy on a mission. We did this on a continual basis in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone, for example, and have been doing so on an episodic basis in Niger.

[English]

This brings me to the question of what the UN currently needs. The Department of Peacekeeping Operations publishes periodic updates on the evolving peacekeeping environment and the gaps in different missions. Its current requirements closely mirror the areas I mentioned previously when I discussed support: engineers, hospitals, military police, special forces, intelligence surveillance reconnaissance, unmanned aerial systems, utility and attack helicopters.

The UN is not short on infantry soldiers able to patrol and deter belligerent factions. It is desperately short on the means to find and predict the movement of those belligerents, the engineers to ensure infantry can patrol without risk from explosive threats, the medevac helicopters to rapidly evacuate casualties, the hospitals to attend to those casualties, and the staff officers to ensure that all those pieces are working together. Canada can fill many of those gaps.

What does that mean? We have the forces to work across the spectrum of peace operations. We have the training infrastructure in place to generate formed bodies of any size or configuration. We can train others to do the job, and we have the niche capabilities that many other troop-contributing nations currently lack.

Thank you. I will be pleased to answer your questions.

Senator Jaffer: I appreciate that you have set out in detail all the different ways we can help. The question I have been asking is not to look at the thousands of boots on the ground — and what I've seen that has worked, and you can agree or disagree, is that Canada doesn’t have the big force that other countries have — but rather the strategic planning and the assets that we can bring to a peacekeeping operation to help men on the ground. I'd like you to expand on that. Is that what we are looking at, or are we looking at men on the ground?

Commodore Santarpia: I can say that we provide all the possible options through the chief to the minister. If it's a UN-specific mission, the UN asks all the contributing nations for all the possible capabilities that it needs and doesn't limit its ask to any one nation for any specific thing.

The process we follow is to receive all of those asks, to understand them and to do our best to assess those asks against the capabilities that we have and against the mission in order to provide the chief the best possible advice. So we look at both the specialist enablers and troop contributions of infantry; we look at all of those options and provide them to the chief for consideration. Then he passes that advice, as he sees fit, to the minister, and that's where the decision would be made.

Senator Jaffer: Correct me if I'm wrong, but we had a different mission in Afghanistan and then we changed it more to a training mission. It would be useful to know, not details, but what the thinking was and why it was better for us. I think it worked well for us. Is that the kind of thing we're looking to provide in the future?

Commodore Santarpia: As I understand the thinking — and I wasn't at the joint staff during Afghanistan, but like all of us I watched closely — that was what was needed at the time. In the initial parts of the mission, the ability to apply force as part of an alliance was felt to be needed. As the mission progressed, what was needed was to do capacity building, as we say, in Afghanistan. That became the training mission.

The advice that the chief of the day passed to the government was that, as the situation changed, we could best effect success on the ground by changing our contribution to the need. I believe that's always the case; every Chief of the Defence Staff wants good analysis of the situation on the ground, the root causes, what the existing contributions are, where the gaps are and where we can best apply our resources and capabilities against the need.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: Thank you for your presentation, Commodore. I would like to get back to the role of the military in peace missions, including those in Africa. We all know that many servicemen and women are deployed in the peace missions in Africa include. We also understand that you have commitments in other countries where forces are already deployed. In your opinion, do those commitments significantly reduce the Armed Forces’ overall capacity? If so, would you still be ready to respond to other situations, domestically or elsewhere? Do we have enough forces in place to respond to unusual circumstances in Canada as well, such as the ice storm?

Cmdre Santarpia: Every time our forces are needed, we act quickly to understand the request. We try to fully understand the specific needs, not only for missions, but for all the other requests we receive as well.

Before we advise the chief of staff who in turn advises the department, we carefully consider whether the decision to assign our forces to a new mission would be detrimental to other missions. It is very important for the chief of staff and the minister to understand that.

I cannot say there is never an impact. It is a choice the government must make and we always ensure that our leaders and the ministers understand the impact of their decisions.

Senator Dagenais: If the government intends to expand its role in various countries to respond to UN requests while still remaining active in NATO, what would the new personnel requirements be for the coming years?

Cmdre Santarpia: Are you referring to soldiers?

Senator Dagenais: Yes. The government is open to requests from the UN and NATO. Responding to their requests is fine as long as we have the capacity. Among other things, that will certainly mean recruiting new military personnel in the coming years. Are there any recruitment plans? We are very familiar with the difficult situation of reservists. The government seems very generous, but do we have the capacity to respond to the requests and to train new military personnel? Those people have to be trained.

Cmdre Santarpia: We do not think that the planned missions will require more military personnel than we have on strength at present. A review of the military is underway, so we will see what our total strength is.

If Canada accepts a UN mission, that does not mean we need more soldiers to carry out the mission.

Senator Carignan: Could Canada not find a less risky way of having a greater impact in fighting terrorism or improving protection in Africa? There could be Canadian interests to protect. Consider for example the CTF-150 you led, brilliantly, by the way. Would it not be helpful for Canada to continue to be part of this kind of force or increase its participation? Would that not be more useful for Canada, pose less risk and be more consistent with our resources?

Cmdre Santarpia: It is not up to the military to determine which missions are best for Canada. It is always a political choice. We advise the decision-makers on each request made to the Canadian Armed Forces for UN, NATO and domestic missions. The military leadership gives advice on the potential risks and the important aspects of each mission, but it is up to the government to decide. I think it is very important for this choice to be up to the government.

Senator Carignan: Can you summarize the mission you led in command of the CTF-150 force and tell us about the resources you needed to achieve results?

Cmdre Santarpia: That mission is still ongoing. It includes members of the navy and the air force. It will continue this year with another rotation, and the 150 group will be responsible for all multinational operations in the Western Indian Ocean. The mission’s objective is to prevent terrorists from using the ocean to transport drugs and so forth. Canada decided it was a useful mission, for us and for our allies. We will continue in that vein. We do not need a lot of personnel to form a command in Bahrain, where 31 force members are deployed, including seven from Australia. It is not a very expensive mission but it is very effective. The government has said that it will continue this mission this year. It would be helpful to have ships in the region.

Senator Carignan: What is the cost and what aspect of this mission are you most proud of that has had the greatest impact as a result of your interventions?

Cmdre Santarpia: The most important thing is working with our allies and maintaining good relationships with them. There are 30 nations that are part of the allied maritime command. The most important thing is maintaining our good relationships with all the members. They are not all members of NATO or other allied forces. This group includes Pakistan and all the Persian Gulf countries. We must maintain ties in order to be able to work together effectively.

[English]

The Chair: I want to follow up, if I could, on Senator Carignan's questions about the reservists. The numbers that have been given to us are that they're understaffed by as many 7,000 positions, if you take the number of 21,000 as the optimum Reserve Force, yet we only have approximately 14,000, in one manner or another.

We were also had indication from the Auditor General that he was coming out with a report that was going to indicate that the army was having difficulty recruiting. From the strategic planning point of view and your responsibilities, you must have full knowledge of this. How does this affect your ability to do what you do if it is true that staffing and the ability to provide the personnel are becoming very questionable? Could you comment on that?

Commodore Santarpia: Absolutely.

We are aware of the situation with the reserves, although it doesn't actually affect my group's planning. My group tries to understand what the missions are and the resources available are, but only at the force-generator level. The advice the chief gets about whether the army, air force, navy or special forces can generate the specific capabilities that he needs he gets from the commanders of those elements as opposed to the Strategic Joint Staff.

At this point, we haven't had any instance where we needed to change our planning from a mission based on the strength of the reserves. The militia gets handled by the commander of the army, so he's generating the necessary forces to fulfill all of the requirements under our force posture and readiness.

The Chair: I don't think I'm getting an answer here. The fact is that if these numbers are correct, and I'm assuming they are, we're 7,000 personnel short in the area of reservists to be able to do certain things. We're taking on other responsibilities now. We've gone on to Latvia. We're in Kurdistan and maybe a deployment into Africa. When we talk broad numbers, we're talking maybe 1,800 personnel from the military, which translates into probably 3,600 to 5,000 by the time you figure rotation and all those things that come into effect. Is that not correct, in broad numbers?

Commodore Santarpia: I'd have to sit down and think about how we're generating the numbers.

My point on reservists is that we generate reservists of a different class. There are Class A reservists who parade weekly and do regular training at their militia and reserve units. If we need to bring them forward for a specific mission, then they become what we call Class C reservists and they work full time. So there's no issue with generating them for the Class C work.

The Chair: Sir, I understand that, but I go back to the second part of my question about the ability of general recruitment for the military itself. The Auditor General indicated to us that he was coming out with a report and that it was going to indicate that there may be substantial problems. Is that true, and if it is, how is it affecting your planning?

Commodore Santarpia: I'm not sure it's true, because the responsibility for generating reservists belongs to the environmental commanders: the commanders of the army, air force and navy. It would be premature for me to give that direction or advice to you, because I don't actually have the details on that.

I do know that it's not affecting our planning because there's been no challenge. When we've wanted a certain number of Class C reservists to fill a mission, the service commanders have had no difficulty at all. It's usually smaller numbers, and it doesn't represent an important portion of the total Class A reservists. So you're drawing certain numbers to do a specific mission, and they're fairly small numbers.

The Chair: I understand that aspect of it, but looking at the numbers and what we're doing as we expand our objectives and commitments, then obviously we want to know what kind of effects it will have for you to do your job.

I want to go into one other area. We've been doing an ongoing study on the question of the various terrorism possibilities that affect this country and also disasters that could affect this country. One of them is the question of electromagnetic pulse attack, either from countries such as North Korea or others. The other possibility is a consequence of a natural solar storm that could cause a power outage for up to three weeks. Is your organization involved in planning for such scenarios? If you are involved with those types of plans, who else is involved with you?

Commodore Santarpia: No, we're not involved with that planning at the strategic level. My group is very focused on how we get folks deployed and how we get that advice up to the chief. That's really been the focus of the planning inside my group.

The Chair: So that's basically your responsibility, then?

Commodore Santarpia: Absolutely.

Senator Jaffer: I have a question on the Pearson centre. I understood that the Pearson centre would have helped with involving civilians and police components. With the loss of the Pearson centre, where are you reaching out to get that kind of training?

Commodore Santarpia: I'm sure you heard this morning from General Lanthier. We have a peacekeeping training centre in Kingston. To date, that's where we've been getting expertise on this.

We're working on plans. As we answer the government's demand to be more involved in peacekeeping, we are considering how we would use that centre and considering options for deploying Canadian Forces people to other peacekeeping centres in order to help out. Every option is on the table for consideration, and we'll bring all of those options up to the chief to consider.

Senator Jaffer: If I'm not mistaken, I understood that the training you were getting from there is online training from the U.S. We are different from the U.S. I know that a lot of army and combat things are the same, but the Pearson centre brought a different perspective than we would get from online education from the U.S.

I respectfully suggest that that's not the source we should rely on, because we pride ourselves on doing things very differently, and we are respected around the world because of who we are. I feel we'll lose that if we get rid of Pearson and get our training from a U.S. online centre.

Commodore Santarpia: I certainly couldn't provide you with better detail than you got from Major-General Lanthier about how much is provided by our own people and how much is provided online. I'm sure you've got a better briefing than I had on it recently. But I do believe that we also give training in person in Kingston, and I know that we give training in centres in other parts of the world.

Senator Beyak: Given North Korea's recent nuclear tests and the Senate committee's 2014 recommendation on ballistic missile defence, what are your thoughts on whether we should be joining?

Commodore Santarpia: We're always looking at that. As you know, there's an ongoing defence policy review, and there's been a lot of discussion about whether that would be part of the advice. I'm not part of the defence policy review, so I don't know how that will turn out. Again, it's a very important question that I'm glad that the Canadian Forces and the Government of Canada is considering. It will be a Government of Canada decision about whether we should or not.

The Chair: Colleagues, I want to thank our witness for appearing, and I apologize for going over time with our previous witnesses.

Joining us on our final panel of the day are Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) John Selkirk, Executive Director, Reserves 2000; and from the Institut militaire de Québec, Brigadier General (Ret'd) Richard Giguère, President.

Gentlemen, welcome. I understand that you each have an opening statement. Please begin, Brigadier-General Giguère, followed by Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk.

[Translation]

Brigadier-General (Ret’d) Richard Giguère, President, Institut militaire de Québec: Hello. First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to take part in this meeting. By way of introduction, I will tell you a bit about the Institut militaire de Québec.

The Canadian Armed Forces’ training system rests on four pillars: education, instruction, experience, and self-development. Self-development refers to the training or studies undertaken by learners themselves to upgrade and further develop all of their knowledge, intellectual or professional competencies and abilities in order to improve the desired competency level.

In general, self-development takes place outside of official professional development activities, and this is where the Institut militaire de Québec, founded in 1929, comes into play in the Quebec City region. We offer annual conferences, usually four of them, on topics related to defence and security. These are offered to the Quebec City region defence team, the Joint Task Force (East). We also hold a conference in March, jointly with the Hautes études internationales, Université Laval. This year will be the eighth Quebec City University — Defence Conference, and the focus will be on broadening the concept of security.

Now for my presentation. The development of Canada’s new defence strategy is very interesting to consider at this time, even though there is no consensus on the answer to such a simple questions as "Are we at war?" either here in Canada or in the capitals of our major allies. In 1916 or 1941, the answer would have been unanimous. But today, it gives rise to a debate, both political and academic, pointing to the complexity of today’s security environment. Traditional threats, of pitched battles and open warfare, have not disappeared. More terrorism does not mean fewer traditional threats. So we are not in a zero sum game. The question is how we perceive the risks we face and how we combat new threats.

Adapting to today’s realities is no easy task. Let’s not forget La Petite Guerre, the term used to describe the method of asymmetrical warfare on American soil during the Seven Years War that took its inspiration from the frontier wars waged by Native Americans. It is a form of warfare that was often called barbaric and antithetical to the ethical and moral compass of the time. Could we now be involved in La Petite Guerre 2.0? Do contemporary conflicts constitute a major trend that will define the future or are they just a passing anomaly?

Questions about Canada’s defence strategy require immediate answers to basically simple questions: what, where, when, how, why, with whom and with what? I say the questions are basically simple, but, in practice, we know full well that the answers to the questions are not so clear. In fact, I come from a school of thought that maintains that, unfortunately, there are no simple answers to complex questions. Nevertheless, I will try to provide some avenues for thought by addressing the following points. What are the major global trends that affect military thinking, in my view? For which emerging challenges could the Canadian Armed Forces be better prepared, in my view? What are the desired or desirable changes in our policies and procedures?

With regard to major global trends, first and foremost, despite our old sophisticated strategies, the suddenness with which crises arise and spread immediately in the infosphere puts additional pressure on decision-makers. Consider for example the fires in Fort McMurray in May or the attacks in Nice in July.

Our experience of time and space becomes compressed. Crises immediately fill the infosphere, often dramatically, with people demanding an immediate response. This implies that decision-makers must be able to count on personnel that are equipped, trained and capable of rapid deployment.

This acceleration of time also means that there is much less time to prepare our military tools and build them up to strength. Hybrid wars have also become topical. They have porous distinctions between conventional and irregular wars, between combatants and non-combatants, and between the legal authorities that apply.

Are we in a time of permanent war? Most of our frames of reference apply to more conventional wars and conflicts, to wars with a beginning and an end. We therefore have to continue to blaze trails in this terra incognita, at the same time as we are constantly engaged in action. It is like having to change a tire on a car going at full speed.

We now have coalitions rather than traditional alliances. This has two effects on Canada: how do we see traditional institutions, do we support them, or do we look elsewhere? Canada seems to have made choices, such as the impending deployment of troops to Latvia and placing troops at the UN’s disposal for eventual use as peacekeepers. But are these traditional alliances effective and efficient? Do they respond to today’s realities?

The other impact is Canada’s real influence in emerging coalitions, like the one currently deployed in support of the security forces of the Republic of Iraq that are fighting Daech. We have no historical reputation that allows us to play with the big boys in these new coalitions, despite the fact that, relatively speaking, we are powerful.

The Westphalian system is in a shambles. The breakup of state structures in many places puts the legitimacy of responses into question. Sovereignty over borders, for instance, is open to question. The emergence of pseudo-states is another factor; armed forces may or may not be legitimate. And what of the responsibility to protect?

Finally, there is a trend towards dehumanizing the battlefield. To what extent will drones or robots occupy the battlefield tomorrow, and what will be the legal and ethical consequences of such a deployment of artificial intelligence?

Our security and armed forces must be prepared for emerging challenges, and what must we think of the use of security and armed forces in our own territory if an enemy comes here? Is the distinction between force from within and force from without still valid and useful today? France and Belgium, for instance, deployed an important military contingent on their own territories following terrorist attacks there. Is such a scenario possible in Canada? If so, how?

We are also seeing a broadening of the concept of security which was always traditionally perceived in its military version. But today’s security is economic and environmental, societal and political. In hybrid conflicts, armed forces are no longer the final word.

Finally, there is a return to peacekeeping operations. For a long time, we were the archetypal blue berets. For Canadian soldiers, the bad memories of our UN missions in the 1990s cannot be downplayed. Our soldiers must be provided with the tools and the legal authority to allow them to fully carry out their tasks when they are deployed.

Canadian soldiers remember the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. Particular attention must be paid to the mandate of each mission, to the extent of support from the permanent members of the Security Council, to the rules of engagement in effect, and to the nature of the chain of command at operational and strategic levels.

Finally, regarding desired or desirable changes to our policies and procedures, the procurement process for military equipment must be depoliticized so that it can proceed through changes in government without upheaval and without changes in its fundamental direction. The current state of the Royal Canadian Navy and the coming need to replace our fighters are food for thought here.

A government-wide approach should be fostered, as the limits of military intervention are quite quickly reached. Dialogue between civilians and the military must be encouraged. The military wins battles but it no longer automatically wins wars. In the Afghan campaign, we had good cooperation between departments over time.

Along those lines, it is refreshing to see the launch of the Peace and Stabilization Operations Program, which, according to the government, is an integrated approach that will lead to better coordination of foreign policy, defence, development and national security matters.

The military can certainly create a secure space in a theatre of operations, but genuine, permanent stability comes with governance and development, which are more in the purview of our civilian colleagues in the bureaucracy. More than ever, we need Team Canada in its entirety to take the field!

Let us consider a strategy focused on risks and threats. Our strategy must match the identified risks and threats and not be fit into available budgets. We must plan the strategic exercise without constraints imposed by resources, and then decide on the priorities later.

In my opinion, the idea of working on a defence strategy without a similar exercise for our foreign policy is a little surprising. Does the defence policy depend on our foreign policy, or the other way around? If a review of our foreign policy is also on the menu, but scheduled a little later, what will be the impact on a newly designed defence policy? How can we link our foreign policy, our defence policy and our national security without synchronizing the planning? Is there a policy hierarchy, and if so, who leads what?

Clearly, the external and internal environments of the government are increasingly intertwined. And the line between domestic and foreign policies is increasingly blurred. The dangers of the proliferation of all sorts of weapons, of international and domestic terrorism, of espionage, the risks for economic security and information security, organized crime and international corruption represent a challenge for an increasing number of government agencies that are not always used to working together.

The classic view of security definitely no longer applies in this context. In a 2002 article published by Laval University, I asked whether it was not high time to hope that Canada will set up a large department of security, with everything that concept entails, to minimize the impact of our traditional silos. I think this question is still relevant today.

In conclusion, Clausewitz said that war is a chameleon because it changes its nature in each particular case. Academic experts agree that there is not one definition of war, but a number, depending on the approaches and levels of analysis. We therefore have to live with those ambiguities, doubts, incidences of war that reason sometimes has a great deal of trouble explaining.

Most importantly, the objectives to be achieved must be clear. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, someone who has no objectives is not likely to achieve them. It is not easy for leaders in the current security environment to define a final outcome that makes sense; it is not easy to answer the simple question: When will we know that we have won?

Adapting to contemporary and future realities is no easy feat and has always been a challenge for past generations. The shelves of the libraries of great military schools are full of histories of campaigns, accounts of war, in which understanding the situation made the difference between victory and defeat. Marshall Foch asked: What is this really about? It would be worth asking such a simple question more often.

Let’s ask the right questions, let’s provide efficient and effective answers. Let’s focus on the contemporary defence and security environment, the risks and threats. The appropriate resources will come later, after the decision and choices made by our leaders. These are decisions and choices that have carried, that are carrying and that will always carry serious consequences for our sons and daughters who wear the Canadian flag on their uniforms and who are what we hold most dear.

Thank you.

[English]

Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) John Selkirk, Executive Director, Reserves 2000: Thank you, honourable senators, for having me here again.

I would like to first say that I believe the Canadian reservists, Army Reservists in particular, are and have proven to be excellent peacekeepers. But before I discuss the merits of that premise, I would like to say just a few words about the Canadian Army in which they will be working to do that peacekeeping work.

The Canadian Army has proven to be outstanding in peacekeeping and peace support roles. In my opinion, and the opinion of many of my colleagues in Reserves 2000, that is so because the Canadian Army is professional, well trained and led by long-service officers and senior non-commissioned members. It is trained, organized and equipped to fight a high-intensity war, which is the most difficult of military tasks. It thus brings to any peacekeeping or peace support mission the knowledge, the confidence and the critical enablers, such as robust intelligence, communications and logistical capacity, and, if necessary, the firepower to enforce the mandate of the mission.

But, and this is my point, maintaining the army at that high level of war-fighting competence is not cheap, and I believe that there are people in Canada who think that perhaps peacekeeping can be done on the cheap. I don't believe it can be done on the cheap for the very reasons I just explained, because it takes a professional army to do the job as well as we've done it over the years.

Towards the end of the last century, army reservists started to play a greater and greater role in Canadian peacekeeping operations. Starting with small numbers of augmentees to regular units, by the time of the last rotations to the former Yugoslavia, complete infantry companies were comprised of reservists. And they were not found wanting in performing that more traditional peacekeeping role, nor in new roles that reservists started to assume, such as, for example, the provision of civil-military cooperation teams, a capability that is at the heart of capacity building that Minister Sajjan spoke to you about earlier this year.

Those teams of CIMIC, as we call them, were all reservists, as were other new influence activity capabilities that were introduced during the Afghan campaign.

Due to their civilian qualifications, reservists bring skills to peacekeeping operations that may not be found in the average regular unit. Educational professionals, municipal administrators, policemen, fire prevention, community health, these are but a few of the skills found in many, many primary reserve units and can be enormously useful in nation building.

And it's not that we ever had a shortage of people who wanted to go. There were always more reservists who wanted to go than there were positions for them.

On that final point, I want to raise my flag of caution, which I raised before this committee before, I think as early as about 2011, and that is the shrinking of the Army Reserve. The Auditor General, in his May report, said that the Army Reserve in fiscal year 2014-15, although funded for 21,000 positions, there were only 13,944 active and trained soldiers. According to testimony by the Commander of the Canadian Army to the House Standing Committee on Public Accounts on June 7 this year, he could by that time only muster 13,243. So that's a drop of some 700 soldiers in that period of time. I don't know of anything that has happened in the last few months that would have reversed that downward trend.

The Auditor General, as you're probably aware, has reported that the Army Reserve has been shrinking by about 5 per cent a year for the last, at least, five years. However, recent announcements by the new Commander of the Canadian Army do provide some hope that things can be turned around, because if they are not, Canada will be unable to take advantage of the very positive attributes the Army Reserve has proven in the past it can bring to peacekeeping and peace support operations.

That concludes my remarks.

The Chair: I want to thank both of our witnesses.

[Translation]

Senator Dagenais: I am happy to see you again, Mr. Giguère. Our paths crossed in Fort Lennox two or three years ago when I accompanied Prime Minister Harper. I remember the occasion very well. Thank you for your presentation.

Today, in spite of peace missions that are, I believe, essentially political, but which involve military support, do you think that we would have reason to believe that sometimes bad decisions are taken and imposed on the armed forces in order to further a certain political image of the country or the government?

BGen Giguère: We have learned a lot of lessons since the 1990s. As I said earlier, we remember the Balkans and Rwanda. If the decision is made to deploy a contingent of Canadian military people, and we learn that a group of close to 600 military will be available, I hope that the lessons learned during the 1990s will be applied and that we will deploy the soldiers with an achievable mandate. The rules of engagement have been the main problem.

You see, when we were in Afghanistan — I have been there twice — our rules of engagement were more permissive. The soldiers did not abuse them, but this allowed them to do their work.

In the 1990s, it was simply the rule of self-defence that applied for the Blue Helmets, which led to the difficulties that occurred. I hope that this time, with the new mandates, the soldiers will have rules of engagement that will allow them to do their work well.

People will say that we learn a lot of lessons, that we take a lot of notes following our exercises. Are these lessons truly learned and remembered? I can only hope that that is the case, since that is the only way we will succeed in the field, a success which will certainly reflect well on Canada. We have to pay close attention to the aspects I mentioned.

Senator Dagenais: I have another question for you, Mr. Giguère. We talk a lot about the training of the military. Do you think that the military is well equipped?

It is all well and good to provide training, to conduct missions, but do you feel that the equipment is adequate? We know that sometimes some things are purchased, but certain witnesses mentioned earlier that it was increasingly fastidious to acquire equipment because of the various stakeholders involved, and that it took longer and longer to obtain the equipment necessary to conduct missions.

BGen Giguère: I think that the Afghan mission left us with a very acceptable stock of equipment. That was not necessarily the case in the beginning, in 2000 or 2001, but rather toward the end, if you recall, when there where acquisition projects while we were there. I think that the vast majority of that equipment, which served us well in Afghanistan, can be very effective during peace missions.

Things are never perfect, and we still hope to obtain new equipment. I retired last year, and the equipment we had at that time in the armed forces would put us in a good position to conduct a peace mission.

Senator Dagenais: Thank you very much, Mr. Giguère.

[English]

Senator Jaffer: Thank you. My question is to Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk.

We've been listening to many witnesses over the last few days and also before that. There is a question — and you would be the best person to answer this — that the reserves in the U.S. are treated in a better way and have better training than what we are doing. Is that correct? What should we be doing?

To further clarify, yesterday we heard from the Auditor General. I don't know if you heard what he said, but he was saying that we are not doing an adequate job in training our reserves. I would like your comments on that, please.

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: First of all, I'm not an expert on the United States forces.

Senator Jaffer: No, just from what you know.

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: They have quite a different system. I know they are well-equipped. I believe they have a lot of policies in place, personnel policies primarily, that suit the part-time reservists that form the bulk of any reserve force. Other than that, they are certainly capable, but the United States is more than capable of putting tremendous resources to any problem, so it's no wonder that they are as capable as they are.

For our Army Reserve — and I can only speak about the Army Reserve — we are, as I've explained, well under strength. That is a situation that has been known for years. Nothing really was ever done. The new Commander of the Canadian Army has certainly issued instructions that will hopefully look after the very worst problems that caused that diminishment in strength. The first and biggest problem was the recruiting system, which was incapable of attaining the goals that were set for it. Those goals were too small. He's going to change how recruitment quotas are set, and the whole recruiting process is to be returned to the army and taken away from the central Canadian Forces Recruiting Group. That's an enormous step in the right direction.

With regard to the long-standing issue of money that was appropriated for reserves not being spent on reserves, a new accounting system that is supposed to be put in place will not allow that to happen in the future. That's a very positive step.

He's looking at the number of days of training that part-time reservists will get. That will help with retention.

His goal is to have all recruit training done within the school year that the recruit joins at the local armoury where the unit exists. That will enormously help what we call training attrition. Training attrition in the Army Reserve right now runs at 50 per cent. If you hire 10 recruits, only 5 of them ever make it past the recruit stage, let alone further development beyond that. It's been a very inefficient system for a number of years.

I think those factors plus new missions will perhaps encourage young Canadians to become more involved. So if we put all of that together — and I'm the eternal optimist — I think we're on the cusp of a new era if the leadership can bring it forward.

Senator Jaffer: Can you clarify, please, why central recruiting was not effective?

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Why it was ineffective? I don't know why, but I can tell you the results. For example, somebody looking for a part-time job in the Canadian Army — that is, to become a reservist — the average wait time from the time that individual walked into the armoury and said "I want to join" until they enrolled was over 180 days. You can imagine that the best and brightest of the young Canadians that came forward were not going to wait 180 days for a part-time job; they will go somewhere else. That's just one inefficiency I can tell you about. Why that took so long, I have no idea, but I guess I could get rich if I could figure it out. It was bad.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: My question is addressed to our two witnesses. We have heard a lot of members of the military and other persons. Finally, what I have understood is that the decision to deploy the army on a peace mission rather than elsewhere, such as to Ukraine for instance, rather than choosing to maintain a presence in the Arctic here in Canada or to participate in other missions, is a political decision. It is an entirely political decision.

The army representatives tell us that they will get ready, and if they state that they are ready, they will go on the mission and do what they have to do. But I have trouble measuring the impact of that decision. Everyone makes a difference in life, and I am convinced that if there is a mission, Canadian soldiers will make a difference. However, if the point is to make an important contribution, for Canada, in terms of political decisions, is it not more relevant to further our NATO commitments, for instance, and to aim for an investment that corresponds to 2 per cent of our GDP? One that will allow us to support our armed forces, to better equip them, to respect our NATO obligations, and to train our people so that they are ready to participate in future missions during which Canada could make a considerable contribution?

I am looking at the statistics; we are the country in the world that has the most kilometres of coast line, and we have little equipment to monitor it properly. Our presence in the Arctic is an issue as well, and we are going to encounter a Russian presence there often. Are there not locations where Canada could have a greater presence, within its means, and should we not invest our energy in improving our army and its equipment rather than sending 400 or 500 soldiers to the African continent, where there are already 100,000 Blue Helmets, of whom 3,000 are from China? Is this the best decision to further Canadian interests? I would like to hear your opinion on that.

BGen Giguère: In my opinion, decisions on deployment in the military, in whatever context, are always political. The issue here, and I addressed this in my presentation, is to see to what extent we wish to support traditional alliances that go back to the end of the Second World War.

We have a choice; we see that there are other things that are emerging, ad hoc coalitions such as we see in Iraq at this time where, in my opinion, Canada does not have the same weight.

As for NATO and the UN, we benefit from the fact that Canada was a founding member of those two organizations. In any case, regarding NATO, we have always answered "present". As for the UN, we answered "present" until the 1990s. Now we are resuming that.

The question we have to ask ourselves is the following: to what extent are those two organizations important for our country? If the answer is that they are important, then we have a choice. As for UN missions, we can provide funds, we can provide advice.

I often make sports analogies. When we play hockey, we have two choices: either we can be on the ice, or on the bench. Those who have the most influence, in my opinion, are those who are on the ice. If we decide to invest in a mission or if we decide to reinvest in the UN, deploying soldiers on the ground — I agree with you, senator. What can 600 Canadians change when they are part of a deployment of 120,000 soldiers? Perhaps more than we think, because our Canadian Blue Berets have a good reputation.

Can we continue in that vein and improve what is happening in United Nations missions? Perhaps. In my opinion, once again, if we decide to reinvest in the UN — and some will say that the objective is to obtain a seat on the Security Council — altruism has its limits, even for a Canadian. So, perhaps that this is one of the elements that will contribute to improving our reputation and our record. However, I don’t think there is only that. If you look at the composition of the UN forces currently, and examine certain missions that are having serious problems, the addition of Canadian soldiers would make quite a difference.

[English]

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I'd like to say briefly that I think you can make an argument that the greatest peacekeeping operation Canada ever participated in was the formation of NATO and maintaining NATO, and NORAD and maintaining NORAD. That kept the peace and probably saved more lives than we could ever tally up and imagine. Of course, that's an expensive operation, as I said.

Where we send Canadian soldiers is obviously a political decision, but I think that the role of the Canadian Forces is to have as many well-trained, well-equipped, well-motivated soldiers, sailors and airmen as we can have, and we have to live within a certain budget. That's why we continue to say: Do more with reservists, because they don't cost as much to maintain.

[Translation]

Senator Carignan: I would have another question, on the French fact specifically. How do you see the presence of francophone soldiers in Africa? We know that several African countries were colonized by France, and that consequently several African countries have a French heritage. France can sometimes be perceived as the colonizing country, and this can lead to certain frictions, a disadvantage Canada does not necessarily have. Can the francophone fact be a relevant element in a future mission, and how can we optimize this francophone advantage Canada has?

BGen Giguère: The comments I hear about that are that despite the fact that we speak French, people over there do see Canadian francophone soldiers and French soldiers very differently. I spoke with several businessmen recently who told me that Quebeckers are well received in Africa. People make the difference. In the days when I was commander of the Quebec sector of the land forces, the Americans had created the Africa Command; it was a good opportunity to deploy francophone soldiers, because the Americans are somewhat outside their comfort zone in Africa, whereas we are used to working with American soldiers, while being able to communicate with African francophones. I literally considered us a link between the forces that were there. And so I perceive the deployment of francophone soldiers in those regions as a positive thing.

If possible, Mr. Chair, I would like to get back to the missions and the recruitment of reservists. Thank you.

No one jumps for joy at the recruitment statistics we currently see. Lieutenant Colonel Selkirk talked about the situation of the reserves. We have to ask ourselves why a young person of 18, 19 or 20 would want to join the armed forces today. The answer might surprise us.

In the beginning of the 1980s, when I joined the Canadian armed forces, what we heard is that we were paid well every 15 days, and would get a good pension. That is what people said. However, I have a son who joined up, and his reasons are totally different. This generation of young people is looking for challenges. Over the past years, many of them joined the armed forces strictly to go to Afghanistan.

So, we absolutely have to find a way to keep our people in the army. Earlier we were talking about the recruitment problem; however, I think is imperative that we look at the issue of attrition. It is not profitable to lose a good soldier after four or five years of service. We lose them after four or five years because they lose interest in what they are doing.

I am not telling you that we have to send our soldiers to war. That is not at all what I mean, but sending them on training missions such as we did in Kabul in 2012, or on peace missions that are well structured and well organized, could have a positive impact.

Senator Carignan: What you say is interesting. Perhaps the army should question its recruitment and hiring system, and its priorities. Recently I came across a book entitled Vandoo, written by lawyer René Vallerand, one of my former classmates who joined the Royal 22nd Regiment to go to Afghanistan, to meet that challenge. He was probably 35 or 40 years old at that point. There are some people who have a passion for challenges.

Do you not think that the army should do a market analysis, so to speak, and broaden its recruitment criteria, without necessarily targeting 18 or 19-year-olds?

BGen Giguère: That is a good point. We are in fact hiring people who are a bit older. In Saint-Jean, there have been courses for recruits where at graduation we saw a father and son graduate as soldiers together. Earlier, Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk referred to the extraordinary skills civilians can contribute to the reserve force, for instance as mechanics, electricians or police officers. They have a full range of skills that we can put to excellent use.

One of the problems I encountered when I was in Quebec, and Lieutenant-Colonel Selkirk mentioned this, was that the recruitment system for reservists was extremely cumbersome. At a certain point, regiments recruited them directly. If you wanted to join the Voltigeurs de Québec, you went and knocked on their door and they gave you a uniform. The process was much quicker.

Over the past few years, I have heard people say that we need to go back to a system like that one. In that way we would avoid situations where people wait 180 days before being called up. Often, when they are called after 180 days, those young people have found a job at Canadian Tire or Walmart. Perhaps we should look closely at returning to a decentralized system to recruit our reservists, and give more flexibility to the militia units. I am convinced that such a measure would be very helpful.

[English]

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: General Giguère, that's exactly where the new commander of the Canadian Army wants to go. He wants to have people enrolled in a matter of days — not weeks, not months. So he's on the right track.

The Chair: I wanted to follow up on that because I think it's important for the record. You outlined a number of initiatives that you have been told were going to be undertaken. The major one that I heard you express was identification of the monies for the reservists and it would stay in that envelope and could not be taken from the envelope for other aspects of the military. That was one.

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Yes.

The Chair: The question of recruitment was going to be changed. The question of in-house training, where possible, was going to be embarked upon, and a number of other initiatives.

My question to you is: When do you expect these broad policy statements that you just made to be put into effect?

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: The restoration of recruiting to units, he wants to have that done by April 1 of next year, 2017. It will take a while for these measures to get some traction and bite and actually see results at the end. It's not all guesswork. It's based on my experience. But it is going to take a number of years to turn this thing around.

If we start to see an increase in trained strength in six months' time, I'd say that would be a very good sign. But right now, as the Auditor General identified at the house Public Affairs Committee, the trend is still going down.

The Chair: He indicated that to us yesterday and the question of recruitment came up as one of our questions.

I do have a specific question for you. Is the current pay scale for reservists adequate? That's another factor.

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I can't answer that question because I've never asked our network to give me any information on that. I believe it is adequate, but that's just my personal opinion based on no scientific evidence. So I don't know the answer.

I don't know how to get an answer that's a good one. You'd probably have to engage people who understand the generation of Canadians that we're talking about here and look at what they could get that would be comparable elsewhere on a part-time basis. That's the only way I could know to go about it.

Senator Day: I wanted to make sure that the delegation of recruiting was going down to the units, as General Giguère mentioned, as opposed to just a centralized army.

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: That I don't have the answer to either, senator. But from everything I have heard his intention is to return it to the armoury. Now, if an armoury has three or four units in it, if there was a centralized recruiting process in that armoury, I think that would be just fine.

Senator Day: It's still local.

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Yes.

The units that are hurting the most — and you can see the statistics from the Auditor General's report — are those that are not located in big urban centres. That's because often the recruiting offices were some distance away and all sorts of impediments like that. So those units are really hurting. It's our opinion that the current footprint of the reserve army across the country is just about right. They are, after all, in — I used to know the number — most of the ridings in Canada. It's our opinion that every Canadian should have access to a reserve unit, with the exception of people in the Far North and so on.

So I think the statistic actually is that 90 per cent of Canadians, I believe is the number, live within an hour's drive of a reserve unit. We want to see that continue because there's no reason why the people in, say, Leeds-Grenville should be disenfranchised if you close the unit in Brockville. That wouldn't be good.

Senator Day: The chairman mentioned two of the major challenges. One is budgeting and making sure that the regular force wasn't robbing some of that money initially designated, and the result of that has been the reduction in the number of training days, which is impacting on recruiting. We've learned that along the way and you've helped us with some of those points. So if the budgeting aspect is under control and the recruiting is under control, what do you see as the biggest challenge for the reserve element at this stage?

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: Part of the recruiting story must be that recruit quotas have to be sufficiently large so that units can grow. Recruit quotas for about the last five years were set below what one could predict as the rate of attrition for individual units, so that was obviously a downhill slope anyway. That problem has to be resolved.

After that, the biggest problems, I think, in order to maintain units at a healthy strength is the attrition side, as the general mentioned. There, some of the problems are, as I said, the attrition of recruits running at 50 per cent. That has to be sorted out. I think doing the training locally within a school year will be a big step in the right direction for that.

Then there's the attrition of the trained soldiers thereafter. Yes, giving them exciting jobs and interesting things to do is part of that, but we have to keep in mind that because the units are now so low in junior leaders, you can't overwork those people, otherwise they're going to quit because by the time they get to be junior leaders they might be in five years or so. That's perhaps when their civilian careers start to take off. Somehow all these things have to be balanced, and the fewer people you have around, the tougher it is to balance. The real solution is to get those units up to strength again.

The Chair: Following up on Senator Day, could you give us an update on the proposed civilian-military leadership program? What exactly is the status and where is it moving to?

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: It's my understanding that the department has said yes, this is a good idea, with a great deal of prompting from the previous minister's office, by the way. I don't think it would have happened otherwise. The department is apparently saying, "Yes, this is something that we should be doing."

Regrettably it seems that, within the individual services now, the thing has stalled. I think the navy is quite keen on it, but I understand that really nothing much has happened in the last several months with the army.

I don't know how many more sessions you have, but I would suggest that you might want to call as a witness Mr. Rob Roy, who is the guy who has really championed this for many years now. He could tell you exactly where things stand.

My understanding is that it hit a certain plateau and stopped there.

The Chair: Before we conclude, Colonel Selkirk, did you want clarification on some of the statements made by the Auditor General in respect to deploying reservists overseas?

Lt.-Col. Selkirk: I would like to say that I went through the Auditor General's report myself in great detail. It was a very good report from the point of view of the future well-being of the Army Reserve. However, he did get into some things that I would term more "administrative," perhaps. It's all important, but I think it would be wrong to put too much emphasis on the fact that, for example, reserve units don't do a good job of recordkeeping about who's been trained, how long ago they were trained and all that minutiae. Computers can be helpful, and maybe we should be there, but we're not there. Units right now are facing bigger problems. So I understand why, perhaps, it's not in good shape.

But, as far as I'm concerned, that should not be an issue with whether reserve soldiers can deploy on peacekeeping missions or on any other kind of mission. The kind of training we're talking about is all individual skills for the most part — some very low-level unit skills.

Before any reserve soldier has deployed either to the Balkans or certainly to Afghanistan, they had to be integrated into the regular unit they were deploying with, and that regular unit had to go through an exhaustive training process, all driven by the need to build teams. The sections, platoons and companies all had to work together, and the unit had to work within the context of the task force it was part of. That takes a lot of time.

My contention is that reserve soldiers who want to go on these missions start off at the bottom level in that team-building process. They already have to have jumped through a number of hoops even to get there in terms of individual skills, like shooting. The unit will have several months — usually three months before they went to Afghanistan — to get their unit ready. The leadership will know whether those individual soldiers are ready. During the Afghanistan mission, some reservists were found to be lacking, and they didn't go.

It's not a problem. I read an article in The Globe & Mail this morning where the Auditor General seemed to say that there could be reserve soldiers deployed who would be so ill-trained that they would be a harm to themselves or to their colleagues, and I don't believe that. The unit commanding officer is not going to take anybody with him who he hasn't the confidence in to do that job.

The Chair: Thank you for clarifying for the record.

I'd like to thank the witnesses for appearing today.

(The committee continued in camera.)