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Does a merger make sense?

FM07

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I know there is a lot of knowledgeable sailors on here and that's who I am aiming this post at. As an RCN recruit, I wanted to ask:

Would it make sense to merge our Coast Guard and Navy thus giving the Navy a sizeable fleet and new capabilities? As someone new to the world of the RCN, I am not sure if this is feasible or not, but what do you folks think?
 

Remius

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Mergers never work out the way they intend them to. And government is terrible at it.
 

Underway

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The RCN and the Coast Guard have very different roles and very different cultures. Though on the surface they might look the same (they both have ships and work for the government) they are very different.

The RCN is responsible for the implementation and management of violence on behalf of Canada.

The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of people, vessels, and the environment on Canadian waterways.

Not the same thing at all.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The CCG is sort of made up of a few different groups,
Navigation Aids=Construction workers of the sea, they build things, put buoys into place, remove them, fix them paint them, they build beacons and light stations, resupply them and maintain them.
SAR vessels= Firefighters, rescue and ambulance mindsets
Science and fishery research= Science types, fisherman and merchant sailors
Fisheries Patrol= Cops on boats with a understanding of fish biology and habitat

Marrying CCG/Science and DFO fleets was painful enough. Generally the majority above are opposed to any military role or mindset. If you are going to arm the CCG, a couple of manned .50cals and two weapon stations (one on each side) with lockers, comms and protection would suffice for the bigger ships, basic training can be done by a roving Navy team or contracted ex-RCN people in the normal crew cycle. These guns would be used to support and protect boarding parties provided by other agencies. The biggest and hardest issue would be to teach the ROE's to the senior Captains and senior management and get buy in from both to use them in angry if required.
 

Pelorus

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Aside from the high level issues mentioned above, there are numerous differences in crewing and training models that would make such a merger quite a headache.

CCG are unionized and are paid overtime in certain circumstances. The RCN is neither.

CCG uses a rotating crewing model with a 1:1 time-on/time-off ratio in most cases. I believe the standard period is 30 days for most ships and 90 for the Arctic ones (please correct me if I'm wrong). The RCN is paid better but has nowhere near the same time compensation.

The RCN does not follow TC/IMO certification, making it very difficult if not impossible for RCN pers to be employed in the civilian equivalent of whatever position they hold in the Navy. Granting civilian certs for RCN quals/experience would probably have to be the first step taken if a merger was entertained, as I cannot see TC waiving this requirement for their vessels.
 

dimsum

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The RCN and the Coast Guard have very different roles and very different cultures. Though on the surface they might look the same (they both have ships and work for the government) they are very different.

The RCN is responsible for the implementation and management of violence on behalf of Canada.

The Coast Guard is responsible for the safety of people, vessels, and the environment on Canadian waterways.

Not the same thing at all.
I think OP's original question was borne out of a bit of misunderstanding over what the CCG does. Much like many other things, I'm guessing OP's view of CCG is at least somewhat influenced by the info from the USCG, which also inclues sovereignty, security, and other roles that the CCG doesn't have. It wouldn't be the first time people thought Canadian institutions were like US ones with similar names.

I could be wrong though.
 

torg003

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The CCG was originally the Canadian Marine Service*, but renamed Coast Guard by Diefenbaker in '62.

*(Marine = the Ocean environment)

Maybe the gov't should go back to that name (or Marine Safety Service), since the general public have the wrong impression of what the Coast Guard does. Not going to happen, but just a thought.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The CCG was originally the Canadian Marine Service*, but renamed Coast Guard by Diefenbaker in '62.

*(Marine = the Ocean environment)

Maybe the gov't should go back to that name (or Marine Safety Service), since the general public have the wrong impression of what the Coast Guard does. Not going to happen, but just a thought.
It was an amalgamation of the Dept of Marine Services and the RCAF Crashboat Stations. Kits base here in Vancouver was handed over lock stock and barrel, including personal to the new Coast Guard.
 

torg003

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I thought I read that Marine Services were under the Dept. of Transport or Oceans and Fisheries at different times during their history before become the Coast Guard. I may be wrong about that. Aren't they under DFO now?
The RCN provides constabulary service on Canada's coasts (as well as international maritime threat protection). Maybe the CCG should go back to being the Marine Service (or Maritime Service, as some Canadians might misunderstand "Marine" to mean something else). The CAF could could have a separate Coast Guard element that is dedicated to coastal constabulary service (with smaller, lightly armed ships), leaving the RCN to deter international threats (nationally and internationally). Maritime SAR could be concentrated with the CG for more efficiency, instead of having 2 organizations doing the same thing.
Anyway, it's just a thought. Never going to happen, but this idea might be a more efficient way of doing things (or not).
 

Oldgateboatdriver

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Long story short: The RCN provides NO repeat NO constabulary services. The RCN has no police / peace officer power to enforce any laws. The RCN does have the authority to fight armed intrusions into Canadian waters by a nation state actor - that's it. We are military, period.

The separation of functions in the Canadian maritime environment harks all the way back to the original Department of Marine and Fisheries instituted shortly after Confederation to basically control offshore, inshore and inland fisheries and to provide (in along list) for harbours, wharves, harbour masters, aids to navigation, including all lighthouses, buoys and shore based markers, etc. and for the certification of masters and mates and inspection of vessels. There was no navy at that time and the fisheries side of things obtained "cutters", which were really light cruisers, to enforce fishing rights against the Americans, since the RN -in charge of our coastal protection - refused to do it for fear of another war with the Americans.

This fisheries protection side of the house became the incubator of the RCN, but continued it's existence and function for all times thereafter, with the RCN serving purely as military muscle.

In all this, constabulary duties (the enforcement of Canadian laws in Canadian waters) was , and remains to this day, the duty of the police, and in particular, the RCMP. When RCN ships are sent to carry out law enforcement, they carry RCMP officers onboard to carry out the policing work. For quite a long time, the RCMP had a rather large marine detachment of ocean/inshore capable vessels, but in the late 1960's/early 1970's, they mostly disbanded it. The vessels ended up as Naval Reserve units tenders or even commissioned vessels (HMCS FORT STEELE). The RCMP now uses large RHiB's and a few twin-hulled small fibreglass vessels on the West coast.

Shortly after WWII, the various government fleets grew quite large and, as ships became more and more capable of operating in some ice, ice breaking became a much more important mission for keeping the sea lanes (read the St Lawrence river and the coasts of Newfoundland) open. Thus, the fisheries remained on their own, but the other duties, relating to nav aids, harbour and certification, together with the now increased icebreaking fleet, was spun out to the Department of Transportation. Also, a new department was created, required as ocean research became more and more important both to support fisheries regulation and to provide the Navy with oceanographic data for ASW and navigation: The Department of Oceans and Hydrographic research.

Then, the marine services that were within the Department of Transportation became a specific service within the Dept and was renamed Canadian Coast Guard, but remained centred on its nav aids and icebreaking duties + marine certification / inspections. Marine SAR, which they had previously done on a secondary basis, was confirmed into the mix. Finally, the government decided that it had too many different "fleets" and started, first, by amalgamating the Department of Oceans with the Department of Fisheries -spinning Hydrographic services out totally under the Navy for a short while (that merger between scientists and para-military like fisheries personnel went very well: NOT!). Then, they amalgamated the whole lot under the Coast Guard, so that right now, there are basically three organisations only that oversee all aspect of Canada's maritime environment: Ocean Services (The Coast Guard) for all aspects not covered by the other two; the RCN and it's auxiliaries, for all naval defences and military operations of Canada anywhere in the world; and, the RCMP/police (because some of it is done by provincial and municipal police forces within their territories) for all law enforcement duties - with the RCMP operating a few small crafts and bumming ride with the other two services need be (particularly onboard the CCG's mid-shore patrol vessels).

But the Coast Guard did not take over any constabulary duty - nor has such duty been passed to the RCN: It remains with the police. Although, I believe that some limited constabulary powers have now been entrusted to Border Services Canada and that they have some small RHiB's to carry out these functions.
 

torg003

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Sorry, I used the wrong word. Constabulary was used in a very general sense, should've said patrolling or guarding, I guess. Didn't mean anything to do with policing.
Anyway, thanks for the summation. I had read about how the CCG was formed a long time ago, but couldn't remember where I read it or all the details.

Personally I think the CCG should stick to civvy duties. I would rather that the RCN be split off from the CAF and be a full functioning blue water navy with it's own air and amphibious assets (ie- becoming a second but separate unified service with sea. air, and land elements). I would suppose that if that were to happen (and we all know that it never will, but indulge my fantasy), the maritime command of the CAF could become the Coast Guard (main function to help guard the Canadian coastline). As I said earlier, the current CCG could go back to it's original name.
Another alternative is that CAF is made defunct and the military goes back to the integrated tri-service that is was briefly before unification.
Again, just another fantasy, will never happen. But the fact remains we need a bigger navy to guard the longest coastline in the world as well as international commitments with allied navies. The navy is probably the most expensive branch of the military and can't get the funding it needs to carry out it's duties fully as part of a unified force (IMO).
 

dimsum

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I would rather that the RCN be split off from the CAF and be a full functioning blue water navy with it's own air and amphibious assets (ie- becoming a second but separate unified service with sea. air, and land elements).
Why would that require the RCN to be split from the CAF? Even pre-unification (when the RCN did have its own air assets) it was still part of the Canadian military.
 

torg003

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I was thinking along the lines of having a budget large enough to fund a navy large enough to protect the Canadian Arctic as well as the East and West coasts, it would have to have it's own budget, separate from the CAF. Of course will never happen.
The fact remains that the navy tends to be underfunded, especially since unification and the gov't doesn't seem to like to be seen spending a huge amount of money on the military. Just my impression.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The CCG s not really doing much better, the bigger ships are rusting out, the newer cutters are not that great, the new lifeboats are decent we did get some leased vessels to fill the gaps and 3 new fishery research vessels which were sorely needed. The CCG is also facing crewing shortages.
 

CBH99

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I was thinking along the lines of having a budget large enough to fund a navy large enough to protect the Canadian Arctic as well as the East and West coasts, it would have to have it's own budget, separate from the CAF. Of course will never happen.
The fact remains that the navy tends to be underfunded, especially since unification and the gov't doesn't seem to like to be seen spending a huge amount of money on the military. Just my impression.
Part of it is the Government of Canada does not prioritize defense spending, as we have been able to contribute meaningfully in various allied operations & seem happy to continue doing so. The idea of us taking unilateral military action against another middle power is remote, at best.

Another issue is the way DND actually spends the money allocated to it, which is the topic of many other threads. Let's just say, we could be spending our money far more efficiently than we do.

Another aspect of this though, is the legal framework in which money is spent. Frequently, DND has to return money at the end of the fiscal year to the government that it cannot / is not allowed to spend - sometimes to the tune of $1B or more.

:cheers:
 

Pelorus

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More funding for ships, crews, and infrastructure would be great, but divesting the RCN from the CAF will not save us money.

Having to set up RCN-specific organizations for things like finance, administration, logistics, legal, etc., which are currently shared between the services would not be cheap.
 

dimsum

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Having to set up RCN-specific organizations for things like finance, administration, logistics, legal, etc., which are currently shared between the services would not be cheap.
That just sounds like duplication of work. As much crap as people like to give Unification, having a single admin/pay system within the CAF is a good thing.
 

torg003

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I would argue that the integration of the armed forces that occurred during the mid '60s accomplished that and that unification wasn't really needed and went too far (just a vanity project of Hellyer IMO). Going back to an integrated tri-service isn't likely to happen, as it probably would've been done by now.
From what I've read in these forums, DND HQ is bloated and over staffed. Splitting DND into 2 departments may not require more admin personnel. If we had a Ministry of Defence, with a Dept. of National Security (with Army, AF, SOF, etc. and a Dept. of Maritime Security, with Navy, Coast Guard, and other sea assets), might not require setting up another admin system (just splitting up the bloated one we have and using it more efficiently).
I realize that this idea isn't at all likely to happen, but I've never been a fan of unification, went too far IMO. DND might as well be changed to the Dept. of International Commitments, as that 's basically it's function, NOT defending Canada. As pack ice melts and the Arctic opens up more, there will be more interest from China and Russia in the Arctic and we will need a more robust navy to defend our territory there. Maybe a separate navy might not be the answer, but I don't see the unified armed forces as being effective in defending the Arctic (more focus is on international commitment fulfillment than defending our territory). Something needs to change IMO.
 
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