Author Topic: Canada must divide its military resources along foreign and domestic lines - G&M  (Read 6796 times)

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Offline Dimsum

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This may dovetail with the Army Reserve Restructuring thread, but I felt it was different enough to put separately.

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CHRISTIAN LEUPRECHT
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 1 DAY AGO

The deployment of 1,700 regular force and reserve military members for duty in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec has been widely applauded by Canadians. At the same time, we seem ambivalent about the decision to scale back or suspend several of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) international commitments. As far as the public is concerned, the military’s away game is discretionary – a distraction used to keep busy when forces are not needed at home.

The problem is that the country’s stability, prosperity and harmony have long hinged on an expeditionary military force. The CAF asserts the country’s geostrategic interests by bolstering allies and promoting stability abroad. With the globalization of transnational threats, many of Canada’s allies have adopted a similarly expeditionary posture, and our allies have just as much difficulty selling the necessity of these actions to their domestic constituencies as Canada does.

But other countries’ civil-military relations differ from Canada in an important respect: under their social contract, there is a broad consensus to keep the military out of domestic operations. The sentiment they hold is that just because the military can do a job at home does not mean that it should.

These countries want their military to defend their interests; so, in response to a non-security-related emergency, their civil society largely has to cope on its own. That functional logic has informed Canada’s allies and partners in creating organizations that jointly address civil defense and disaster preparedness. Examples include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States, State Emergency Service (SES) in Australia, the Technisches Hilfswerk (THW) in Germany, the Sécurité Civile in France and the Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) in Sweden. These organizations provide surge capacity across a broad spectrum of expertise, as well as trained volunteers and equipment to assist with disaster response.

Canada has no equivalent. Provincial emergency measures organizations have no deployable operational capacity. So, the CAF ends up backstopping emergency response. That is the consequence of a peculiarly Canadian anachronism.

[More at link]

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-canada-must-divide-its-military-resources-along-foreign-and-domestic/
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Online MilEME09

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Canadians will not pay for a bigger military. So Canada will need a better-organized military that is actually structured to optimize taxpayers’ return on investment


You would think so, but we all know better that that
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Offline FJAG

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The article leaves a lot to be desired in that it has various items that aren't factually accurate and show a basic misunderstanding of "mobilization" within the current CAF; the makeup and role of Provincial EMOs. It's hard to believe he's a professor at RMC.  :facepalm:

This article is a particularly surprising in that the he is the co-author of a paper "On the Baltic Watch:The Past, Present and Future of Canada’s Commitment to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia" which is a fairly good analysis of the Russian threat to the Baltic States and why Canada should continue to play a role in that deterrence operation. https://macdonaldlaurier.ca/files/pdf/20180327_MLI_LATVIA_WebF.pdf  This makes it doubly hard to understand why he's prepared to write-off 20,000 Canadian soldiers to flood control and firefighting.

Some of the comments are more insightful than the article (others not so much)

The basic proposition to turn the Reserves into an at-home EMO is nothing short of silly. Does Canada need a better organized military - absolutely; what it needs, however, is a Reserve Force that can play a better away game next to its Regular Force counterparts.

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Online Colin P

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Funny enough they already tried that with the Reserves doing Civil Defense, that turkey did not fly well. Why do they think it would work better this time around? If doing only domestic emergency ops, I much rather work privately or as part of the Public Service either Provincially or Federal.

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Funny enough they already tried that with the Reserves doing Civil Defense, that turkey did not fly well. Why do they think it would work better this time around? If doing only domestic emergency ops, I much rather work privately or as part of the Public Service either Provincially or Federal.

Ah yes, that Turkey caused my trade to rewrite courses 3 times since 2010. At the end of the day Reserve force or not the primary role of the CAF is not domestic ops, and us having to be called in is a symptom of other problems. We really need to get back to war fighting not saving people annually for having a home on a flood plain.
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Funny enough they already tried that with the Reserves doing Civil Defense, that turkey did not fly well. Why do they think it would work better this time around? If doing only domestic emergency ops, I much rather work privately or as part of the Public Service either Provincially or Federal.

It was not so much that doing "National Survival" with the Militia didn't fly well, but that Canada doing "Civil Defence" regardless of the agency didn't generally do it as well as it was done in other countries.  An interesting analysis of it is "Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada's Cold War Civil Defence" By Andrew Burtch  https://books.google.ca/books/about/Give_Me_Shelter.html?id=cb4SombaypsC&printsec=frontcover&source=kp_read_button&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false

My favourite model for civil disaster response is Germany, probably because I was more familiar with them.  A neighbour in the village where I once lived (back in the days when we were stationed over there) was in the Lahr THW unit.  What I saw of their capabilities and ability to respond quickly (locally, as well as regionally, nationally and internationally - they were also in Rwanda when we went there in '94) impressed me.
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Offline LoboCanada

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If the primary job of the CF as an institution is to "Defend Canada", and they cannot assist communities of Canadians from floods. Then it is an organisation that is rolling itself into its own grave.

Canadians don't care about having a well-equipped military force, its well understood on this site and to many defence-minded people. Canadians care about terrible things around the world, but nobody ever cries out for military intervention. Nobody is marching in the streets to send a force to XYZ country because they're terrible. The CF is easy to cut because of its split, and not embracing the HADR job. No provincial gov't is gonna fork up any cash for a fleet of Chinook and LAVs, so that angle is silly IMHO.

If you say the Defence of Canada is the No1 job and that includes HADR, then people won't mind funding that org that flew me away from the fires, or drove me away from the floods. It simple good-will and positive press for the organisation. When the next flood comes and we couldn't get our trucks in there due to age and disrepair, then which delayed 10 year procurement project is gonna get the spotlight in the news next, the mobility one or the RPAS one?

Do Canadians think Russia is a threat to their everyday life or are they more worried about floods and fires? Easier to sell the idea of an expensive armed logistical force.

Build up a basic capability to get Canadians to safety from harm domestically, then by happenstance you may get equipment that'll be for war.

Offline tomahawk6

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In the US our National Guard is the domestic resource used for national disasters and they also can be mobilized for use overseas. Canada has the ability to do the same with its reserve forces.

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In the US our National Guard is the domestic resource used for national disasters and they also can be mobilized for use overseas. Canada has the ability to do the same with its reserve forces.

This drips into other threads, but if thats what we want, then reserve units need to be deployable units, not admin units. I think that would be great but we would need strong leadership at the national level to get the job done. The NDA would probably need some tweaks, job protection in all provinces for reservists would need to be altered. I do not think there is the political will to get it done.
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Offline FJAG

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This drips into other threads, but if thats what we want, then reserve units need to be deployable units, not admin units. I think that would be great but we would need strong leadership at the national level to get the job done. The NDA would probably need some tweaks, job protection in all provinces for reservists would need to be altered. I do not think there is the political will to get it done.

I think even before you get to the question of political will, you have to get politicians to even know that there is an issue and to understand what it's components are. Most of them have no clue (and for some strange reason that I can't fathom, that includes our incumbent minister who, as far as I can see, has done zero to advance Reserve Force capabilities)

The second prerequisite to understanding the issue is to be able to recognize the inevitable counter arguments (Everything's alright, mate! Oh, and we need more money!) that are going to come from within the system to maintain the status quo for what they really are; rice bowl protection.

Then, and only then, will political will need to kick in.

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Online Colin P

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We could start National Conscription by Lottery, so if your name is chosen at 18, you can request either the military or Civil Defense battalions. Your request is evaluated against your physical/mental state and numbers required and you end up where based on all of the above. (This is roughly what Malaysia does) If you have a criminal record you automatically go to Civil Defense flagged for labour work.

Civil Defense Battalions:
Basic first Aid
Basic search and rescue
Basic fire fighting
Basic flood control
Basic urban rescue

Military
Basic training
Basic infantry training
Basic drivers course
Basic First Aid

After 18 months you go on Supp list till you are 30. At anytime people can apply to the Armed Forces and their courses and performance are brought with them to the professional military.
   

Offline reverse_engineer

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Other than the conscription part, it doesn't sound like a bad idea. I wonder if it be better to have a national force, or a mix of different organizations at the municipal/provincial/federal levels? While I'd assume all units would need a similar baseline of training to start, I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to have certain teams specialize to an extent.

Obviously cost would be an issue, but a small full-time cadre of permanent/and or contract personnel who coordinate the training and logistics for a larger pool of adequately trained, but part-time members who can surge as required. Pre-positioned stocks of emergency stores, and a fleet of COTS vehicles. It kind of sounds like the reserves, but I doubt the PRes wants this as their actual role. Also, I feel a lot of people won't join the military, but might volunteer for some kind of civilian EMO.

Offline FJAG

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I disagree completely with any move to have any portion of a military force with a primary role of civil disaster work. I think Lieutenant-General Guy Simonds said it best back in 1972:

Quote
“The armed forces should primarily be trained and equipped for the possibility of conflict with a first-class power - the most severe testing they may have to face. It has been proven over and over again, that well trained and well disciplined military forces, trained primarily for major warfare, can easily and effectively adapt to lesser roles of aid to civil power or peacekeeping. The reverse is not the case.”  - . Simonds, Lieutenant-General, G.G. Commentary and Observations, The Canadian Military: A Profile, ed., Hector Massey, Toronto: Copp Clark, 1972. P 267

This was perhaps Gen Simonds last statement on the subject but had in no way been the first as during the fifties and sixties there had been numerous shifts in policy that had given civil defence roles to the Militia off and on.

Quote
By the end of 1954, however, Major-General F. F. Worthington, Civil Defence Coordinator under the Department of National Health and Welfare, called for the Militia to be used in national survival search and rescue operations in the event of nuclear attack. Simonds, who worried that such a specialized role would turn the Militia into a safe haven for those who wished to avoid active service, responded that armed forces maintained and trained primarily for combat could always offer assistance to the civil defence authority.
...
In 1958, at the height of the so-called golden age of deterrent thought that accentuated the worth of forces in-being, newly
appointed defence minister George Pearkes announced that the primary role of the Militia would henceforth be to restore order and conduct search and rescue re-entry operations into “target areas” in the event of a nuclear attack on Canada
...
The emphasis accorded national survival only began to subside at the end of 1963, but at this juncture the government slashed authorized Militia strength from around 51,000 to 32,000
...
From 1965 onward the Militia role changed to one of augmentation, that is, providing not formed units, but officers, specialists and soldiers on an individual basis to fill personnel vacancies in the regular force.
...
The NDHQ forces-in-being approach also ignored the reality of a dangerous world in which flash points such as Korea, Iran, and the Taiwan Strait could conceivably blow up into major conflicts. Unforeseen wars in the Falklands, the Gulf, and Afghanistan, have already shown that future conflicts cannot be foretold with any certainty. Current trends further suggest that whether they be conventional or asymmetric in nature, large forces with substantial logistical trains will continue to be required. This points to a potential need for force expansion, especially for a regular army as small as Canada’s

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/cdfai/pages/95/attachments/original/1413683498/The_Role_of_the_Militia_in_Today_Canadian_Forces.pdf?1413683498

We are met with two significant challenges: limited resources and a more demanding challenge in preparing for "conflict with a first-class power" than ever before. To prepare for such a conflict will need every resource available. The fact that a properly trained military can easily augment civilian authorities that are already equipped for and knowledgeable in civil disaster work means that we do not need to, nor should we, divert any resources, or even much valuable training time from our primary responsibilities from defending the nation and its national interests.

Quite frankly, IMHO, the proposal made in the Leuprecht article is not only short-sighted but dangerous.

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Online MilEME09

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We could start National Conscription by Lottery, so if your name is chosen at 18, you can request either the military or Civil Defense battalions. Your request is evaluated against your physical/mental state and numbers required and you end up where based on all of the above. (This is roughly what Malaysia does) If you have a criminal record you automatically go to Civil Defense flagged for labour work.

Civil Defense Battalions:
Basic first Aid
Basic search and rescue
Basic fire fighting
Basic flood control
Basic urban rescue

Military
Basic training
Basic infantry training
Basic drivers course
Basic First Aid

After 18 months you go on Supp list till you are 30. At anytime people can apply to the Armed Forces and their courses and performance are brought with them to the professional military.
 

We could go more the Swiss route, because some objected to military service, the tweaked it to a national service program. All able body citizens at age 18 must do 2 years, the military is still and option but so are other fields like Nursing aids, and working in Long term care facilities, after completing government run training. We could cover our bases doing this by putting into towards area's such as forest fire fighting, flood response/recovery, health care aids including in LTC's, farm work, Military, and Coast Guard, possibly other areas as well.

This gives them work experience, a possible career, and the national interest is served, a non military required service option would also likely be more popular in Quebec.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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We could go more the Swiss route, because some objected to military service, the tweaked it to a national service program. All able body citizens at age 18 must do 2 years, the military is still and option but so are other fields like Nursing aids, and working in Long term care facilities, after completing government run training. We could cover our bases doing this by putting into towards area's such as forest fire fighting, flood response/recovery, health care aids including in LTC's, farm work, Military, and Coast Guard, possibly other areas as well.

This gives them work experience, a possible career, and the national interest is served, a non military required service option would also likely be more popular in Quebec.

Offer to pay tuition for those doing  a 3 year stint and you’ll have to fight people off with a club.
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Offline Brad Sallows

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>This gives them work experience, a possible career

So does a job, and they aren't giving up an important part of their lives and a loss of opportunities.

>the national interest is served

No thanks.  Before we decide to conscript anyone now, everyone in favour should first pay the government the equivalent of those years of indentured service, with interest, since they didn't have to give up those years of their lives.  See how much enthusiasm remains.
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Offline reverse_engineer

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>This gives them work experience, a possible career

So does a job, and they aren't giving up an important part of their lives and a loss of opportunities.

>the national interest is served

No thanks.  Before we decide to conscript anyone now, everyone in favour should first pay the government the equivalent of those years of indentured service, with interest, since they didn't have to give up those years of their lives.  See how much enthusiasm remains.

Great post, Brad. Let's do a better job of attracting the right talent (that actually wants to serve) and then retaining it. That applies as much to our military/public sector as it does our hospitals and LTC facilities. It's supposed to be a free country, let's let people decide for themselves what they want to be when they grow up.

So here's a hypothetical situation: If CAF/DND was given a choice, focus more on domestic operations, or lose a chunk of the budget so that the task could be performed by another organization, what do you think the response to government would be? I feel like I know how it would go, but I'm curious to hear what others might think.


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and we can have a Civil Defense Airforce using Canadian made aircraft like France https://www.facebook.com/bryan.bourgois/videos/3045135602192313/

Offline daftandbarmy

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Great post, Brad. Let's do a better job of attracting the right talent (that actually wants to serve) and then retaining it. That applies as much to our military/public sector as it does our hospitals and LTC facilities. It's supposed to be a free country, let's let people decide for themselves what they want to be when they grow up.

So here's a hypothetical situation: If CAF/DND was given a choice, focus more on domestic operations, or lose a chunk of the budget so that the task could be performed by another organization, what do you think the response to government would be? I feel like I know how it would go, but I'm curious to hear what others might think.

The Provincial Wildfire/ Wild Land Fire fighting programs are already well set up to deal with ‘climate emergencies’. Just give them a broader mandate and more money.

 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2020, 17:35:33 by daftandbarmy »
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>This gives them work experience, a possible career

So does a job, and they aren't giving up an important part of their lives and a loss of opportunities.

>the national interest is served

No thanks.  Before we decide to conscript anyone now, everyone in favour should first pay the government the equivalent of those years of indentured service, with interest, since they didn't have to give up those years of their lives.  See how much enthusiasm remains.




I'm not disagreeing with your post, just throwing in some food for thought from a different perspective

1.  It not only gives them work experience, but it also gives them a respectable form of employment & a decent paycheck.  Not only that, but I'm curious about the positive/negative affects it would have on our society as a whole, since everybody growing up (especially once we all really grow up, out of our early/mid 20's) would have some form of national service.

Perhaps less vandalism?  Less petty/property crime?  A more unified society in some sense, since everybody did some form of service to benefit our society? 


2.  If it is offering folks steady, respectable employment - I don't think people should have to pay the government for those years.

Although there could be exceptions to service, re: someone enrolled in university or some form of post-secondary, employed/learning a trade, etc.

I know a LOT of young people (usually not bad people, but in trouble with the law) who would benefit from some form of national service.  (Not conscription).  It would really help with their social skills & their perhaps skewed view of society and problem solving (low income/rough childhood stuff) - as well as give them something more productive to do, since a lot of the younger folks I've dealt with in the courts tend to have the root of their issues at boredom/lack of opportunities.



Not disagreeing with your post at all Brad.  Just tossing it into the discussion as food for thought.

(I'm married to a girl who served 3 years in the IDF - have a hilarious story for another time where she was snarky to their deputy PM without knowing who it was.  I just suggested the food for thought above after chatting with her about how national service works in Israel...obviously not the same situation as here, but the general concepts were similar)   :2c:
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Offline lenaitch

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In my humble opinion, if the domestic mandate was severed from the CAF, it would do irreparable harm to whatever would be left behind.  Truth be told, the military is not on the radar of the typical Canadian taxpayer.  Defence matters are relegated to a throwaway line on a platform during an election and never discussed because they know the average voter simply doesn't care.  No Canadian politician will stump that the GST has to go up a point to meet the Strong, Secure Engaged goals, or that they can't do pharmacare because warships need to be built.

Sure, there is great outpouring of respect and sympathy during repatriation ceremonies and the like, but it is usually fleeting and, again, my opinion, more towards the victim as opposed to the institution.  We don't have a history of revolution or empire, and our geographic integrity hasn't been breached since the Fenian Raids of the 1870s.  Many simply think that we made soldiers, sailors and airmen out of farm boys in pretty short order in the past and we could simply do it again if we had to.

How many post-boomers actually know about Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia or any other hot events involving the CAF in the past few decades?  How many sit down a read a newspaper or take an hour to watch the evening news?  These are some of the places where events are covered in-depth, either reportage, analysis or opinion.  Most consume what little news they absorb via social media or 'news' platforms that feed them stuff they have either indicated they are interested in, algorithms have selected for them or, worse, pushed by online advertising.

The vast majority of the Canadian population lives in cities within 100km of the US border.  Unless they live in a base town, Ottawa, go to an airshow, perhaps a Remembrance Day ceremony or live near an armoury, many could go their entire lives without seeing a member in uniform or a piece of military equipment.  Heck, our daughter works at a small Base in a small city and often hears from locals that they didn't know it was there.  "Who's going to invade us?' and/or 'the US will protect us' are not uncommon views held by many.

Does anybody think there is a realistic chance of seeing billions for new equipment, let alone keep whatever funding is left over from the divorce, when it would have absolutely no relevance to the majority of the population?  At now, there is sense that the CAF will help when things hit the domestic fan.

Like it or not, a C-130 evacuating a northern community, or members filling sandbags have as much positive marketing impact as the Snowbirds, and public opinion is really the only lobby group the CAF has when it comes to getting a piece of the pie.  There has been an incredible positive public response to the revelations the military made about what they found in LTC facilities; speaking truth to power that even the governments own inspectors couldn't do.  Professional, objective and non-judgmental.  Some of it came from a background in medical knowledge, but a lot of it was simply observations.

I know some feel that anything that detracts from a focus on hard combat is inappropriate, but I feel that narrow view is dangerous to the future of the CAF.  You can 'train high' but still 'respond low', but not the other way around.

Offline Dimsum

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Great points. 

The one thing I'd say is that I suspect more Canadians know about Afghanistan than you think.  It was on the news and social media throughout the 2000s until 2011 when we left the combat mission.

Now whether they knew someone (or knew someone who knew someone)?  No, not really.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Quote from: lenaitch
I know some feel that anything that detracts from a focus on hard combat is inappropriate, but I feel that narrow view is dangerous to the future of the CAF.  You can 'train high' but still 'respond low', but not the other way around.

A future where the caf is treated like and endless pool of cheap labour is dangerous too.
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Offline FJAG

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I know some feel that anything that detracts from a focus on hard combat is inappropriate, but I feel that narrow view is dangerous to the future of the CAF.  You can 'train high' but still 'respond low', but not the other way around.

I've probably argued for the "hard combat" primary mission more than most on this site but I'm also very much in favour of having domestic ops continue as as a secondary task of both the Reg F and Res F.

It's separating "hard combat" from "domestic ops" and making the latter the "priority" of the Res F or to turning the Res F into some vague "domestic" force that I object to.

One can and should be able to do both.

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Offline Eaglelord17

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I'm dead set against conscription by any means. Having been stuck in a environment I personally chose and hated every minute of it, I can only imagine how miserable you can be if your forced to do it.

Personally I am more of the carrot type of guy. Get rid of all university and college subsidies. Then offer free education for any who volunteer for the Reserves/maybe this civil defence idea. The hard part would be selling the public on it.