Author Topic: The Defence Budget [superthread]  (Read 437102 times)

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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #25 on: October 28, 2005, 00:06:04 »
>What Canada should have done was to buy ( ot build) a number of new submarines

Maybe we should have bought the Upholders before they went into long-term storage.  It's not like we don't know how old a particular class or fleet of equipment is, or when it would be prudent to replace it.  The scandal isn't what we spend, it's the amount of time it takes us to figure out exactly what to buy.
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Offline Britney Spears

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #26 on: October 28, 2005, 00:12:30 »
Quote
I'm surprised no one has taken up our criticism of useless spending programs taking up valuable resources.

Do a search. Try the keywords "KevinB", "C7A2", and "ill-conceived waste of time and money" for starters.
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Offline mjohnston39

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #27 on: October 28, 2005, 03:50:32 »
Some rambling thoughts.

All Western countries have decreased their UN peacekeeping contributions   http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/contributors/

All Western countries are increasing their defense spending, and Canada's will be on par with countries with similar populations economies (Spain, Australia...)

All Western countries are modernizing their militaries to be interoperable with the US, they are the most advanced and powerful and get to set the bar. Everyone else is stepping up, we need to or we'll get left behind not only our only neighbour and our closest alley but everyone else.

Government spending in general has increased over the last budget cycles, why should defense be any different

Directly comparing military spending in absolute terms is somewhat misleading. Dollars in Canada don't go as far, do think a service man in say Turkey makes as much as one in Canada? Same goes for equipment, buying and building in Canada is expensive due to mandated industrial/regional benefits, high wages etc.

150M for the F35, well can Canadian companies have received over 1.5B$ in contracts, seems like a prudent investment to me... http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/10/12/Pratt_Whitney041012.html

Large capital expenditures are need because most of the equipment the CF is old and wearing out. Even if Canada was to totally dedicate itself to UN peacekeeping missions it would still need new trucks, airlift, helicopters, sea-lift, just about everything laid out in the recent defense review. The need would even be more acute as most of our allies who posses these assets, which we thumb a ride with, are no longer involving themselves in UN peacekeeping missions. If Canada was to truly dedicate solely to UN peacekeeping missions it would truly be going it alone and need a much larger military defense budget than it has now...

Tradational peakeeping worked, for the most part, because it was always backed up with a credable use of force either from the peacekeeping country or their allies. If Canada goes alone, even for UN peacekeeping, it better be prepared to carry an even larger stick...

There have been many discussions here about waste and spending more efficiently...

Mike
« Last Edit: October 28, 2005, 03:58:13 by mjohnston39 »

Offline mjohnston39

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #28 on: October 28, 2005, 04:16:22 »
Also the article is somewhat misleading as it fails to mention that, IIRC, the NATO mission in the former Yugoslavia were deployed under the authority of the UN security council and I believe this is the case for Afghanistan as well...http://www.nato.int/issues/afghanistan/evolution.htm

Quote
It is these operations that are now responsible for the continuing high operational tempo of the Canadian Forces. "With a few exceptions," the Defence Policy Statement notes, "most of the Canadian Forces' major operations [of recent years] have borne no resemblance to the traditional peacekeeping model of lightly armed observers supervising a negotiated ceasefire."

The world has changed, like it or not and there are no longer defined groups to negotiate a ceasefire with in the first place....
« Last Edit: October 28, 2005, 04:25:01 by mjohnston39 »

Offline Cdn Blackshirt

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #29 on: October 28, 2005, 11:36:21 »
I'm surprised no one has taken up our criticism of useless spending programs taking up valuable resources. Ever wonder why all the defence experts we always see on the news go silent when something goes wrong with the subs?   How many other uses could $150 million U.S. go to instead of the F-35 (isn't this another corporate subsidy consuming limited defence dollars)? Seems to me we could have replaced those Hercs a long time ago if they had been made a priority by the leadership on Colonel By.

 - Steve

Before we proceed to much further Mr Staples, I have both watched and read your criticism for a couple of years now, but have never heard your opinion as to how you believe a military should be used? 

Specifically, do you believe in active intervention in places like Rwanda and Darfur or not?

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Matthew   :salute:
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Offline stevenstaples

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #30 on: October 29, 2005, 13:20:53 »
The recommendation from our report this week called for the creation of a new Defence White Paper through public participation (and I don't mean expert hearings in Ottawa), and until that time a freeze on defence spending. Get the policy right first, then set the budget.

When asked, we suggest the CF focus on two objectives: (1) defence of Canadian territory to ensure sovereignty (e.g. improved capability in the North, use of new technology such as High-Frequency Surface Wave Radar), and (2) participation in UN-led peacekeeping missions (i.e. "Blue Helmets"). We expand on this a bit in Breaking Rank, the 2002 report that is also available on our web site at www.polarisinstitute.org.

 - Steve


Offline Infanteer

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #31 on: October 29, 2005, 13:31:40 »
(2) participation in UN-led peacekeeping missions (i.e. "Blue Helmets").

Are you sure this is a prudent proposal?  Most soldiers I've spoke to who've put on a blue hat say they wouldn't do it again - maybe in the '80s it was a nice thing, but experience since then has taught us otherwise.
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Offline 48Highlander

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #32 on: October 29, 2005, 13:45:10 »
The recommendation from our report this week called for the creation of a new Defence White Paper through public participation (and I don't mean expert hearings in Ottawa), and until that time a freeze on defence spending.

 ;D

In other words, death by committee for the CF.  That sentence reminds me of the scene in Robo Cop 2, when they gather a civilian pannel to decide what changes to make to his programming.

"He's too mean, why can't he be nicer to people?"
"That gun of his is way too big.  It's to scary."
"It'd be nice if he'd stop and talk things out once in a while."

Following which, he ends up trying to lecture a mob of kids robbing a store, and then shoots a guy for smoking.

Face it, 99% of civs don't know squat about the military, government spending, or foreign policy.  That's why we have politicians, soldiers, intelligence agencies, and "experts".  You cannot make policy by popular opinion; it would be a particularily idiotic form of national suicide.  Whatever decisions your "public participation" might come up with - while well intentioned and seemingly logical under a cursory examination - would spell disaster for the military.

Offline GO!!!

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #33 on: October 29, 2005, 16:17:49 »
The problem Mr. Staples, is that the Polaris Institute is a most apt demonstration of an "opposition" movement, guaranteeing its income by making wild and press worthy accusations and suggestions, in order to secure further funding and attention, then fading into obscurity for a period of time, until its masters feel the need for more attention and funding.

In regards to your uses for the DND.

1) "The defence of Canadian territory" Bad news, radar only tells you the bad guys are coming. Since you oppose the F35 project, and the CF 18s are obsolete, just how do you intend to protect our sovereignty. Which weapon system usable north of 60 have you supported the acquisition of?

2) "Participation in UN - led peacekeeping missions" More bad news, there has never, in history, by the UN's own definition, been a successful peacekeeping mission, with the exception of the Suez crisis. Why do we want to participate in this culture of abject failure? Why should we sacrifice any more men?

Finally, given the schizophrenic and time consuming character of any type of Federal Policy Review (remember Trudeau's Foreign Policy review?) would we not be better served by a multi - task capable military, able to perform any mission anyhwere in the meantime, than a freeze on spending to push us even further back in terms of capabilities?
No leader was ever hated for being too hard, but a great many were for attempting to appear that way.

Offline mjohnston39

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #34 on: October 29, 2005, 17:15:56 »
Quote
participation in UN-led peacekeeping missions (i.e. "Blue Helmets").


With whom do you suggest we work with on these blue-helmet missions as most of our western allies have abandoned these traditional UN mssions???

Mike

Offline paracowboy

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #35 on: October 29, 2005, 18:25:38 »
With whom do you suggest we work with on these blue-helmet missions as most of our western allies have abandoned these traditional UN mssions?
nobody, 'cause they don't work!
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #36 on: October 29, 2005, 18:32:49 »
Mr Staples,

We (the Canadian Forces) have already endured a "funding freeze" that has lasted since 1993.  By advocating a funding freeze, again, while we endure a long, painful, ill-intentioned, uninformed, national policy consultation process on defence, you are basically guaranteeing the final nail in coffin of the Canadian Forces.  Nothing on our current equipment order book (that I can think of) would be inconsistent with almost any task we would be assigned anyway after a defence policy review.  Believe it or not, the CF is in a VERY fragile state right now.

Why is it, Mr Staples, that your organization has such a difficult time accepting the professional opinion of serving soldiers, sailors and airmen, who actually have operational experience in many of the world's less desireable places that what we need right now is a more, not less, aggressive and well armed military?  We are not uneducated and thoughtless people, you know. We are not just making this stuff up because we like "cool toys".  Most of us have done the government's bidding in lots of uncomfortable parts of the world, trying to implement our nation's foreign policy and generally keep any number of factions in Africa, Asia and Europe from kicking the crap out of each other, and us in the process.

Mr Staples, I highly advise you, if you have not done so yet, approach DND about getting yourself to Kandahar so that you can spend a week or so with the guys on patrol.  Or out at sea on frigate.  Or better yet, join your nearest reserve unit and find out first-hand what it is like to carry the can for Canada, on a continual, chronic, underfunded basis.

Mr Staples, I respect that you are doing what you are doing in good faith.  Please understand, however, that most soldiers, sailors and airmen are by necessity pragmatists and will accept any new funding that comes our way right now, so that we can get on with our job of protecting Canada and carrying out our foreign policy.  I, for one, remain to be convinced that you accurately understand the true situation with respect to defence in this country.

Good night.


Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #37 on: October 29, 2005, 19:14:41 »
Mr. Staples,

In the interest of full disclosure:

Who do you represent?
Who supplies your funding?
Who sits on your board of directors?
Where does your board meet?
How often do they meet?
To whom are you responsible?
Where is your Institute registered?
What are your personal qualifications to comment on these matters?
What experience do you have?
With whom do you consult when you derive your position papers?

Your site seems to be silent on those matters.   I find links to many labour and "direct action" groups.   You have an "about us" page that does the mission thing very nicely but I am unable to find the answers to my questions there.   Is there a link you can direct me to that will supply those answers?

Christopher Pook
« Last Edit: October 29, 2005, 19:29:03 by Kirkhill »
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #38 on: October 30, 2005, 15:42:15 »
A properly done review, as opposed to a stalling and posturing exercise, should only take a few months.  There's no need to freeze anything.

Limiting our spheres of activity to UN operations basically ensures that any region that doesn't pass muster with the veto members of the UNSC is SOL.  Welding our foreign policy to the UN is shorthand for welding it to the subset of overlapping (ie. mutually agreeable) foreign policy objectives at the UN of the US, UK, Russia, PRC, and France.  That is a small set.  I'm not sure being the willing lapdog of the aforementioned nations is much of a demonstration of sovereignty.  Of course, if we want to rule out intervening in situations such as those presented in Rwanda and Darfur, it makes sense to tether ourselves to the UN.  Perhaps I misunderstand what the real objective is.  To look as if we're doing something, without really doing anything useful or costly...hmmm...sounds attractive.

Certainly we should be able to exercise our sovereignty, and protect our naval forces and shipping abroad.  If we really wanted that, we'd get on with replacing the diesel boats with nuclear-powered ones.
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Offline GO!!!

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #39 on: October 30, 2005, 19:56:07 »
A point I missed in my earlier post as well.

Given that the UN is comprised of despotic dictatorships, human rights abusers etc, all of whom have the same voting weight as a law abiding, well intentioned, democratic nation, why is the collective of despots assumed to be correct in the application of force, while the singular despot is a creature to be reviled?

Furthermore, why should we risk so much blood and treasure in carrying out the agenda of a mob of despots and dictators?

No leader was ever hated for being too hard, but a great many were for attempting to appear that way.

Offline KevinB

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #40 on: October 30, 2005, 23:26:39 »
UN  ::)  - some of their programs are commendable -- others are indictable.
 Militarily it is a fiasco -- too many tinpot dictators with votes -- and a Security Council that is rife with division.
Franco-German sticky fingers in Iraq a prime example.

 The military needs money - big time, it is not the time to freeze spending.
NONE of the current acquisitions that the critics on both sides are currently harping on are boondoggles, but items which the CF has identified as immediate requirements to fulfill our role in government policy.

I amongst others could define areas where the military needs more money right now to rectify current deficiencies.  Near and dear to my heart are small arms - where the LCMM has about 1/50th of the money he requires to upgrade our small arms and provide soldier the required capabilities at the basic level.  Add in money for small arms ammunition, low light equipment and money to train with them in a live fire environment etc.  I could easily justify a $5b increase myself.

 It is true that some items (the G Wagon for instance) were knee jerk reactions - but that happens with a rustout Army that when certain capabilities fail.  If anything the Gwagon shows us WHY we need to identify issues before we enter an active theatre, and buy items based upon our needs - rather than buy an illsuited platform (Gwagon is a good platform for somethings, however the variant we bought =sucks)

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Offline RangerRay

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #41 on: October 31, 2005, 01:33:45 »
Some random thoughts:

I find it very ironic that those who say we shouldn't let the Americans determine our foreign policy are the same ones who say we have to do whatever the UN says.  The whole reason why we didn't go into Iraq was because France (and some shadowy Canadians, including a former PM) had oil interests with Saddam Hussein's regime.

As much as I would like to see more openness and public consultation in government in general, defence policy and foreign policy is not one of them.   Most people are very ignorant in these areas and have no clue about defence and diplomatic issues.   When dealing with national interests, that should be left to politicians, diplomats, generals and "experts".

Australia, a country much like Canada in many ways, with a smaller population, appears to have far greater military capability as us.   They have sea lift, strategic air capability (F-111 bombers), tactical attack helicopters, and even aircraft carriers, IIRC...   I heard they are even aquiring M1 main battle tanks.   As well, the past few years, they have been taking a very strong stand on the international scene.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2005, 01:37:43 by RangerRay »
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Offline stevenstaples

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #42 on: October 31, 2005, 11:03:58 »
Folks -

Thanks for all of the comments. Very interesting and useful.

I sense that a lot of people on this forum consider themselves independent thinkers - and I see evidence of this spirit all the time in the CF at large.

For example, have you seen the Corporals' Report by Corporal W.C. Gomm and Corporal R.K. Moran that came out in 2002? Here is the link (go to page 70): http://armyapp.dnd.ca/ael/adtb/vol_5/ADTB_vol5no3_e.pdf (page 70).

Also, have you read Col David King's article "We need a Romanow Commission for Defence and Foreign Policy":
http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/apr02/king.pdf

In the media there is a tremendous amount of "group think" from the defence experts - who basically parrot the Generals' line and clam up whenever there is trouble (e.g. who is speaking our for the safety of submariners? Blaming Chretien won't make the subs any safer).

We need to ensure there is a vigourous debate from inside and outside the Forces. It is not uncommon for me to hear from many CF members when we publish our reports - everything from "you're way off" to "you're right, and you don't know the half of it...".

Would you agree the public needs to hear from CF members who are willing to take an independent position from the brass (otherwise public only ever hears the carefull crafted, savvy, media spun story from the brass, and not the real story)? How can this be done?

 - Steve




Offline paracowboy

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #43 on: October 31, 2005, 11:27:55 »
before anyone answers your questions, don't you think it only fair to answer theirs? After all, they asked first.
...time to cull the herd.

Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #44 on: October 31, 2005, 11:55:53 »


Would you agree the public needs to hear from CF members who are willing to take an independent position from the brass (otherwise public only ever hears the carefull crafted, savvy, media spun story from the brass, and not the real story)? How can this be done?

 - Steve


It's being done on this site. Probably 80% of the content of this site challenges the assumptions of the puzzle palace, along with the less than stellar and somewhat biased performance from the media. In fact, with relatively few exceptions, we are an anathema to the media, politicians and others because we can [and have] successfully challenged their articles, assumptions, public statements and plans.     The first article you have mentioned has been discussed on this site- someone will likely provide you with links shortly.

Quick question: why do you have a silhouette of what appears to be a Russian or Chinese destroyer on the front cover of your latest report?   Freudian slip?

Cheers.



Offline HDE

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #45 on: November 01, 2005, 23:41:04 »
I'm intrigued at the idea of "public participation" in determining the role, and reasonable funding, of the Canadian military.  How do we actually determine who "the public" are?  Is there a requirement that "the public" have any expertise whatsoever on military affairs, equipment requirements, etc?  Does the opinion of members of "the public" carry the same weight as the informed opinion of folks actually in the business?  During the last election campaign the Liberals put forth the claim that we can have either a military or health care and very few members of the media, much less the public, bothered pointing out the dodgy logic being used.  The same can be said of any area of government spending.  Why single out military spending?  This is the sort of "it sounds impressive, but doesn't mean anything"  assertion that formed so much of the work in the Polaris Institute report we're discussing.
The obvious point is that the Polaris Institute doesn't much like the military and then proceeds to put forth all sorts of dubious claims in order to make their point. 

Offline GO!!!

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #46 on: November 01, 2005, 23:49:56 »
 Mr. Staples,

Seeing as no - one else here has mentioned it, we, as serving soldiers are not permitted to challenge the "party line" pushed by the DND.

It is actually a crime, and troops have been charged and sentenced for it before.

You are permitted to speak about your role and responsibilities as an individual. Other than that, it must be forwarded to a Public affairs officer for processing.

So the idea of having the Corporal debating with the General is a moot point. The General would probably jail the Corporal, strategic or not, for pointing out the flaws or inaccuracies in his plan, and he would be permitted to do so.

Can you answer my questions now?
No leader was ever hated for being too hard, but a great many were for attempting to appear that way.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #47 on: November 02, 2005, 19:32:06 »
The problem with public consultation is that a surprisingly large segment of the eligible voting population is unlikely to concede that security is the precursor for any other social institutions one wishes to construct, and to draw the appropriate conclusion that security should be first in line for whatever resources are available.  By happy coincidences and circumstances and accidents of history, Canada is in a situation in which it is somewhat possible to marginalize security without really bearing the consequences of such imprudence.

For example, I doubt anyone has attempted to estimate within an order of magnitude the value of ocean-borne trade which is secured (eg. not lost to piracy) by the presence of the world's major blue-water navies.  If we had that number, we could at least make a guess whether Canada is bearing its share or freeloading in the security of the oceans.

Likewise, one could measure Canada's contribution to maintaining a secure trading environment in Europe west of the Iron Curtain prior to the latter's fall and determine whether we spent the Cold War riding on the backs of others - trading with Europe incommensurately with our contributions to its security.

It's easy to point to our geographical location and claim that it should take very little to secure our borders. but an honest appraisal can't ignore the presence of the US and the importance to the US of relatively free-market access to Canada.  Are we freeloading in the security of the Americas?

One of the popular current debates in Canada is whether and how to expand trade with nations other than the US.  I will hazard a very rough guess and proposal: if the US is an overwhelming influence on the security of ocean-borne trade, Canada - as a nation aspiring to trade across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans - should as a rule of thumb contribute a naval presence on a per capita basis equivalent to the US and operate closely - dare I say, interoperate - with the US.
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Offline Simian Turner

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #48 on: November 02, 2005, 20:51:32 »
Mr. Staples

If you look at the page prior to the Corporal's Report, you will see that these gentlemen had their opinions blessed for publication by the Commander prior to their (one-time only) publication - hardly "free speech" at its finest.

Retired Col David King's article is not presented as the opinion of a serving CF officer but rather as a US National Defense University faculty member. It also comes with a disclaimer as not representative of Cdn or US authorities.

QR&O 4.27 sums it up pretty good:

4.27 PROVISION OF INFORMATION PROGRAMS AND PROMOTION OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS

(1) A commanding officer of a base, unit or element shall ensure that, in accordance with orders issued by the Chief of the Defence Staff, members of the base, unit or element are provided with information on the plans, policies, programs and activities of the Canadian Forces and that requests for information on Canadian Forces activities from either the news media or the general public are dealt with expeditiously.

(2) A commanding officer of a base, unit or element shall take all practicable steps to stimulate and sustain a harmonious relationship between the base, unit or element and the civilian community.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2005, 21:06:12 by Gunner98 »
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Offline pbi

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Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
« Reply #49 on: November 02, 2005, 21:25:08 »
GO: well posted. Having served on a few missions, I can only share in your distaste for the UN's military prowess. Even that inept organization has learned to contract its business out to regional organizations or standing alliances to get the real work done. The "traditional" UN construct of the light, largely incapable (and often inept...) UN force with no credibility, no straegic, operational or tactical intelligence system or meaningful command and control capabilities has finally been revealed as largely ineffective. That type of force never really resolved any situation, and was actually incapable of "keeping the peace" once one party or the other (or both) felt they wanted to get ugly. A police force that worked on similar principles would be judged useless. Yugoslavia, Somalia (UN) and Rwanda were the last coffin nails on the "traditional blue hat mission": even the UN itself admitted as much in the Brahini Report. If we want to make a difference in nasty places,, against nasty people, and if we want the military portion of  the "3DT" (US= DIME) construct to be capable of doing its part, we need the things the CDS is leading us towards. For the first time I can recall in 31 years of service, we have a PM, MND and CDS who can work together from a common sheet of music. That is refreshing and immensely heartening.

It is the democratic right of all Canadians, regardless of their political orientation, to express their voice on issues including defence. Indeed, on these very pages we have oftren bemoaned the ignorance, apathy and general indifference of many Canadians on the subject of our military capability. In fact, there has been no shortage of venues for that expression over the last few years, from the Minister's Monitoring Commitee travelling sessions to SCONDVA hearings across Canada to the Reserve Roles Missions and Tasks  town halls  that were held all over the country a few years ago.  At some point we have to make decisions, as professionals, advise our government of our needs and recommendations, and get on with it. That is what we are doing, and I believe that we have the support of a majority of Canadians.

Cheers.
The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools. ...

The true measure of a man is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out...