Friday, December 11, 2015

Canada in Iraq: RCAF Strike ISIS fighting position north of Al Kuwayr

In an press release on it's OP IMPACT webpage, DND announced that, on 11 December 2015, while taking part in coalition operations in support of Iraqi security forces, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIS fighting position north of Al Kuwayr using precision guided munitions.

Opposition Motion Defeated: RCAF CF-18 Mission To End

Yesterday, member of the Official Opposition, Tony Clement brought forward a Motion for the House of Commons to keep the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18's involved in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The motion was easily defeated by the Majority Liberal Government;  104 YAYS to 220 NAYS.
There Liberal and NPD members voted against the motion; while the Conservatives and Bloq Quebecois voted for the motion.

The motion read as follows:

"That, given that ISIS has taken responsibility for recent deadly attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Africa, and has declared war on Canada, this House: (a) acknowledge that now is not the time for Canada to step back and force our allies to take on a heavier burden in the fight against ISIS; (b) remind the government of its obligation to our NATO partners and its responsibility to protect the freedom, democracy, safety, and security of Canadians; (c) call upon the government to maintain the air-combat mission of the RCAF CF-18 fighter jets; (d) express its appreciation to the members of the Canadian Armed Forces for their participation in the fight against terror; and (e) reconfirm our commitment to our allies to stop ISIS." 

If you wish to see how your MP voted, please see the Record of the Vote. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015


By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs 

Nemenčinė, Lithuania — NATO member nations have common interests and goals but when they come together in multinational exercises, their languages, practices and perspectives are often very different. Exercise MAPLE ARCH 2015 (Ex MA 15), which took place from November 9 to 20, 2015 at the Lithuanian Army Warfare Training Center in Nemenčinė, Lithuania, was no exception.

Canada and Lithuania were jointly responsible for planning and conducting this year’s edition of the annual exercise. The Canadian Army’s Major Sean Clark, who co-led Ex MA 15 with his Lithuanian counterpart, Major Darius Bernotas, said those differences do present challenges, but collaborating to overcome them brings many rewards.

“Some of the lessons and the skills that we’re trying to impart are based in Canadian doctrine,” said Maj Clark. “Our Lithuanian counterparts also deal in NATO doctrine but they’ve got their own spin on it just the way Canada does. I would say the biggest thing for me is being able to see the Ukrainian battalion commander learn a new way of doing business. And in doing so he says, ‘This is really interesting. I’ve never looked at it from this perspective.’ We certainly have something to learn from them as well.”

“Working with officers from different countries is rewarding in the sense that you can exchange experience and learn from each other,” added Maj Bernotas. “Canadian officers have led the MAPLE ARCH exercises for almost a decade now. So I had a unique opportunity to learn from them as well as to share my experiences planning and conducting such an exercise. I know for sure that these insights will add to my experience as a battalion commander. At the beginning of the exercise, the soldiers faced communication, procedural and some cultural challenges. On the other hand, these challenges became less and less obvious as we progressed with the exercise and established close working relationships.”

Ex MA 15 is an initiative of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Program (PfP). Established in 1994, PfP was created to enhance peacekeeping capabilities within the organization. Rather than a full-fledged battle scenario, Ex MA 15 presented a simulated peace support operation. The UN defines peace support as the maintenance of public order, policing, mentoring of security forces, infrastructure reconstruction or national reconciliation.

This year’s exercise brought together a total of 140 troops from Poland, Ukraine, Canada and Lithuania, for a largely computer-generated simulation that challenged the multinational battalion commanders with a hypothetical scenario reflecting the complexities of today’s Eastern Europe.

“In general terms, there are some belligerent gangs and criminal elements that are operating within the area of operations that we’re working in here, and some belligerent military forces as well,” Maj Clark explained. “So this provides the commander with a host of different potential events that could happen. In peace support you’re looking to support the local government by ensuring safety and security within the region, to be seen as working in partnership with the local authorities and support their authority in the region. We also have the flexibility, being a military force, of being able to react to more of a military opponent.”

While strong professional bonds were clearly forged during Ex MA 15, Maj Clark said personal ones also formed, particularly as both Remembrance Day and Poland’s National Independence Day fall on November 11. Not only were Canada’s Ex MA 15 partners glad to mark the day, he added, but other NATOpartners in the area also got involved.

“The Lithuanian Army Commander, Major General Almantas Leika, was very keen when we told him about Remembrance Day that Lithuania, as the host nation, would support any effort to assist us in acknowledging it,” said Maj Clark. “And to be able to participate in a parade where we saw British, Lithuanian, Polish, Canadian and American troops acknowledging that sacrifice together, that was a key for me personally, and demonstrated the resolve that we all share as partners in conforming to the NATO principles.”

Maj Clark added that, as a founding partner in NATO, Canada has an important part to play in maintaining the close relationships that make its existence possible.

“It is a partnership. And in order for partnerships to work properly and effectively we all have to do our part. It’s very much like the concept of justice: not only must it be done but I think it must also be seen to be done. And nothing to me, in my personal view, would exemplify that more than partners standing shoulder to shoulder with one another as they did on November 11.”

2nd Enhanced Naval Boarding Party Class Graduates

Navy News 

By Peter Mallett

Sailors in the new Enhanced Naval Boarding Party (ENBP) program had one final test to complete before graduating October 29, 2015. In order to receive their Maritime Technical Operator Course certificate, each of the eight graduates was required to secure Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, B.C., Dockyard’s Alpha Jetty. After arriving from their Albert Head training facility aboard rigid-hulled inflatable boats, the team, dressed in full fighting order, scaled the side of the dock, fanned out, did a comprehensive sweep, and then gave the all clear sign.

Afterwards was the graduation ceremony. “You are the sharp end of the spear as it pertains to boarding capabilities,” said Captain (Navy) David Mazur of Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters. “The momentum surrounding the program is going to build in the next few years, and you are all in on the ground floor of this new program.”

The first class of 13 ENBP recruits graduated in April 2015. The graduation of this second group further advances the first phase of the Future Naval Boarding Party Capability Development outlined in the Royal Canadian Navy’s executive plan. The plan is to produce a pool of 70 to 100 ENBP graduates over the next few years.

“They are specialists, not generalists, and require an increasingly complex and high level of training to be qualified to do this job. They are better trained to deal with uncertain or chaotic situations that they may deal with in their deployments,” said Lieutenant-Commander Wilfred Lund, Officer Commanding the Maritime Tactical Operations Group (MTOG).

Graduates underwent advanced tactical training over 14 weeks that included hand-to-hand combat, improvised explosive device identification, close quarters battle, tactical shooting and advanced medical training.
The graduating class of the Maritime Tactical Operators Course 1502
The RCN's 2nd ENBP Graduating Class in October, 2015. Photo: CAF Combat Camera 
“There is a lot of work that goes into everything we have learned,” said Leading Seaman Brandon Smith. “While it only took about 15 minutes to secure the jetty, there was a great deal of behind-the-scenes preparation required in advance. Two or three days of planning was needed to complete this task and really opened my eyes to what is required for our new job.”

Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Brent Bethell, a member of the MTOG, added: “The ENBP capability will provide the navy, and the Canadian Armed Forces as a whole, the required agility, flexibility and tactical expertise to confront and deter threats in high-risk operational environments.”

Canada deploys contingent to Combined Task Force 150

(Published by DND Press Release)

OTTAWA — Seven Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel begin Operation ARTEMIS this week as part of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) in Bahrain.

The Canadian contingent will remain in position until April 2016 under the Australian Defence Force, which assumed command of CTF-150 today.

Quick Facts 

This deployment represents Canada’s most recent contribution to Operation ARTEMIS, the CAF’s ongoing contribution to counter-terrorism and maritime security operations across the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea, and Gulf of Oman.

The CAF contribution consists of five officers and two non-commissioned members of the Royal Canadian Navy, including Captain (Navy) William Quinn, who will act as Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff of CTF-150. The other members will work in planning, logistics, and as watch-keepers.
Through maritime security operations and regional engagements, Combined Task Force 150 works to deter and deny terrorist organizations from using merchant shipping lanes for smuggling weapons, illicit cargo and narcotics, while ensuring the safe passage of merchant ships in some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Command of Combined Task Force 150 is rotated between participant nations on a four- to six-month basis. The Australian Defence Force assumed command of CTF-150 today until April 2016, when it will hand command over to the United Kingdom.

Canada commanded Combined Task Force 150 from December 2014 to April 2015.

Canada in Iraq: RCAF Conduct Airstrike against ISIS Fighting Position

In a press release on it's OP IMPACT webpage, DND announced that on, 9 December 2015, while taking part in coalition airstrikes in support of Iraqi security forces’ offensive operations to clear ISIS from Ramadi, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck an ISIS fighting position in the vicinity of Ramadi using precision guided munitions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Canada in Iraq: Canadian CP-140M Aurora’s Reach 300 Sorties against ISIS

Published by DND (Press Release)

Article / December 8, 2015

Force Protection note: The threats posed against deployed CAF members vary between geographic locations and change frequently over time. It is essential that the CAF thoroughly assess such threats and implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of deployed personnel. The CAF continually adapt these measures, including identity protection efforts, to the specific environment in which our personnel operate. Therefore, the need to protect the identities of deployed CAF members may differ between operations and over time.

Two soldiers stand on a runway to help direct an aircraft.
A Member of the RCAF Long-Range Detachment directs a CP-140 Aurora while taxing in Kuwait, as part of OP IMPACT.
Photo: OP IMPACT - CAF Combat Camera

Written By: Long Range Patrol Detachment - Air Task Force – Iraq

The low-pitched drone of a Canadian CP-140M Aurora’s engines greets members of Air Task Force-Iraq (ATF-I) as it taxies under the hot desert sun. The sound is a familiar one at the airbase in Kuwait, as the mission marked the 300thsortie for the aircraft in the fight to halt and degrade the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

The Aurora’s role within the coalition is to provide an Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance capability; the Aurora gathers accurate information that informs any decision to engage a target. This effort is supported by the members of the Long Range Patrol Detachment team, along with the Weapon System Management team and key enablers in Canada.

“Canada’s Long Range Patrol Detachment is proud to celebrate over 300 multi spectral, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance missions in support of Operation IMPACT. Aurora maintainers, aircrew, sensor operators, and communications suite personnel are providing vital assistance to coalition efforts to enable local security forces as they take the fight to ISIS,” said the Long Range Patrol Detachment Commander.

Before CF-18s can execute a strike on a target, a significant amount of analysis needs to be performed to ensure that the target is a valid military objective and, most importantly, that it conforms to the Law of Armed Conflict.

The Aurora’s ability to gather video and still images over an extended period of time allows intelligence personnel to build a picture of the tactical level situation at a potential strike location. The footage and imagery attained is reviewed to determine the movement of ISIS fighters.

One of the Aurora’s tasks is to maintain awareness of ISIS positions and determine if there is any civilian activity in the area. This information allows planners and coalition partners to assess the impact an airstrike may have on a given area. The Aurora is a key component in the targeting process and assists leaders in determining the risks associated with an operation and minimizing the risk to the local population.

The Long Range Patrol Detachment flew its first mission on October 30, 2014, following the announcement by the Government of Canada that it would contribute air assets to the Middle East Stabilization Force.

A little over a year later, the ground crew technicians are maintaining high mission completion rates despite working in extreme heat and blowing sand.

“It is definitely more challenging to work in a desert environment but we are adapting to the conditions,” said an Aurora maintenance technician from 19 Wing Comox, British Colombia. “We are proud to represent Canada and know we are providing a strong contribution to the coalition’s mission.”

RCN to Lease Two Spanish AORs during 2016

By: Esteban Villarejo, Defense News 

MADRID — The Spanish Navy will deploy two auxiliary oiler and replenishment (AOR) vessels in 2016 to "cover the Canadian Navy's temporary need for logistic support vessels in the North Atlantic," military sources told Defense News.

Both replenishment ships — Patiño and Cantabria — will support training for the Royal Canadian Navy's Atlantic fleet in two different time periods: Patiño will operate between February and March, and Cantabria between mid-September and November.

"This support is based on NATO’s principle of solidarity among its allies, by which a country provides a capability that the other does not have," a Spanish military source said. "The deployment will not have additional costs and will not have an impact in our capabilities."

The main mission of a combat-replenishment ship and hospital is to supply fuel, fresh water, ammunition, provisions, spare parts, military equipment, uniforms, medicines and medical assistance to other combat units at sea.

The Cantabria deployed with the Royal Australian Navy in 2013. The government of Australia paid the expenses of that deployment during the year.

This year Canada chose the German Navy’s Berlin-class design to replace its two Protecteur-class supply ships, which have been removed from service.

On Wednesday,, December 8, 2915 the RCN confirmed the Defense News report.

LCdr Alain Blondin, the RCN’s Deputy-Head of Public Affairs, told  the Ottawa Citizen's Defence Watch:

“We can confirm that the RCN is continuing the process of developing a Mutual Logistic Support Arrangement (MLSA) with the Spanish Navy where we will receive services from two separate Spanish vessels in 2016 to fulfill replenishment responsibilities and facilitate training in support of Maritime Forces Atlantic training and exercise activities. The current plan is for the first vessel, the Spanish Navy Ship Patino, to arrive in late January to March, and the second is planned for the fall of 2016. The exact dates are yet to be negotiated. Full details are still to come as negotiations are still ongoing and the MLSA is not yet finalized.”

Villarejo wrote that the Cantabria will be on Canada’s east coast between mid-September and November.

Some RCN sailors are already familiar with the Patiño. In 2014 HMCS Toronto conducted five replenishment-at-sea “evolutions” with both French supply ship Marne and the Patiño, the RCN website noted.

As readers know, Canada is facing a supply ship gap as the new Joint Support Ships are not expected in the water until 2020/2021. Davie is working on converting a container ship into an interim refueller (iAOR) for the RCN. That is expected to be ready in late 2017.

Last summer Canada made arrangements with Chile’s navy to have a supply ship available on the west coast.

OP PROVISION: Mission Details

Published by DND: Current Operations - OP PROVISION

Operation PROVISION is the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) support to the Government of Canada’s initiative to resettle 25,000 Syrian Refugees in Canada by the end of February 2016.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is the lead department for Canada’s efforts with numerous supporting departments including:
  • Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA);
  • the Department of National Defence (DND);
  • Global Affairs Canada (GAC);
  • Public Health Agency of Canada;
  • Public Services and Procurement Canada;
  • Public Safety Canada; and
  • the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP);
  • The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) contribution
The requirement for military support, and the extent of that support for this Government of Canada initiative is still being assessed at this point in time.

The CAF is prepared to provide interim lodging for approximately 6,000 refugees at various bases and facilities throughout Ontario and Quebec, and an additional 7,000 at facilities across Canada, if need be.

Accommodations at bases and wings are but one option being explored to provide interim lodging to refugees as part of a broader Government of Canada initiative.

If requested, the CAF is prepared to provide interim lodging for refugees at the following bases/wings in Ontario and Quebec:
  • Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Kingston;
  • CFB Borden;
  • 8 Wing Trenton;
  • 4th Canadian Division Training Centre in Meaford, Ontario; and
  • Garrison Petawawa; and
  • 2nd Canadian Division Support Base Valcartier.
To date, approximately 200 CAF personnel have deployed to Aerial Ports of Embarkation (APOEs) in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan combined to support the Government of Canada initiative.

While tasks vary at each APOE, deployed CAF personnel are currently:
  • Assisting the Canadian Defence Attachés (CDAs);
  • Acting as Liaison Officers between the CDA and Canadian Joint Operations Command;
  • Assisting IRCC with the administrative processing of refugee applications, including the collection of biometric data; and
  • Providing a CAF command and control element.
  • Mission Context

Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, millions of people have fled the country seeking safety and resettlement internationally. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, since the beginning of 2015, more than 720,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean, undertaking journeys from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and other regions torn apart by war, hunger and violence.
Canada’s response

On 9 November 2015, the Government of Canada officially announced its commitment to welcome approximately 25,000 Syrian refugees from Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan to Canada by the end of February 2016, with an initial group of 10,000 arriving by 31 December, 2015.

The Government of Canada plan has five phases:
  • identifying Syrian refugees to come to Canada;
  • selecting and processing Syrian refugees overseas;
  • transportation to Canada;
  • arrival and welcoming in Canada; and
  • settlement and community integration.

The Government of Canada is also working alongside non-governmental organizations including the United Nations Refugee Agency, the International Red Cross, and Canadian companies, charities, and service providers

Mission timeline:

9 November 2015 – the Government of Canada announced the creation of a new Cabinet ad hoc committee to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada.

Mid-November 2015 – the CAF deploys 12 personnel to assist Canadian Defence Attachés (CDAs) in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey and to act as Liaison Officers between the CDAs and Canadian Joint Operations Command.

28 November 2015 – the CAF deploys members of 2nd Battalion, the Royal Canadian Regiment based at 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, to assist IRCC with the screening of refugees in Lebanon and Jordan.

As of 01 December 2015 – the CAF continues to deploy medical specialists and other personnel to assist IRCC in Lebanon and Jordan, as requested.
Previous CAF support to emergency humanitarian evacuations (Historical Precedent) 

Operation MAGNET (1978) - Following the collapse of the South Vietnamese government and the fall of Saigon in 1975, the Government of Canada through the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission and Department (CEICD) and the Canadian Forces arranged for the airlift and resettlement of over 50,000 people from Vietnam. Op MAGNET occurred in three phases from 1978-1981.

Operation PARASOL (1999) – The Canadian Forces was called upon to support the Government of Canada’s efforts to assist displaced refugees from the Serbian province of Kosovo. As part of Operation PARASOL, more than 5,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees were airlifted to Canada and temporarily accommodated at various bases across the country.

External links
Government of Canada

#WelcomeRefugees (Government of Canada)

Announcement of action on Syrian refugee crisis (IRCC)

Conflict in Syria (DFATD)

Canada’s response to the conflict in Syria (DFATD)
External Links

Syria Regional Refugee Response (UNHCR)

Canada in Iraq: RCAF Strikes Two ISIS Compounds Near Makhmur

In a press release on it's OP IMPACT webpage, DND announced that on 8 December 2015, while taking part in coalition operations in support of Iraqi security forces, two CF-18 Hornets successfully struck two ISIS compounds used as staging areas and weapons caches during two separate airstrikes west of Makhmur using precision guided munitions.

The RCAF has continued its airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq following the 2015 Election, and the Liberal Government's announcement that the CF-18s will be withdrawn before the end of the current March 2016 mandate.
A RCAF CF-18 Flies over Iraq during OP IMPACT on November 7, 2015. Photo: CAF Combat Camera

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Canada in Iraq: Final CF-18 Withdrawal Will Be Measured Against Coalition Capabilities

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Monday that the decision on when to pull out Canada’s CF-18s will be based on ensuring there is no “capability gap” for the country’s allies.

“The decision on that is going to be based on making sure that there is no capability gap, and we’re figuring out the exact time to do so,” Sajjan explained.

“We’ve worked out many different options, but we also want to make sure that the contribution that we are going to make is also going to have that meaningful impact, whether it’s going to be training or other components, to the mission that we’re going to be bringing to bear.”

His reference to “other components” could mean a number  of different things. Stephane Dion last week said a police training contigent was possible or even the continuation of the Aurora and Polaris aircrafts in the mission. 

Today, Italy announced that it will not partake in the US led coalition against ISIS - they referenced the outcome of the NATO Air Campaign in Libya as its reasons. 

"Italy will not take part in the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Syria," says Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Renzi questioned the effectiveness of the campaign and pointed to disastrous NATO war against Libya as an example of the pitfalls of such campaigns.

“If being a protagonist means playing at running after other people’s bombardments, then I say ‘no thank you,'” Renzi said. “Italy’s position is clear and solid. We want to wipe out terrorists, not please the commentators. The one thing we don’t need is to multiply on-the-spot reactions, without a strategic vision.”

Renzi pointed to the 2011 NATO bombing campaign which led to the overthrown of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. After the death of Gadhafi rebel groups carved up Libya. The country is now a haven for Islamic extremists and is mired in chaos.

“Four years of civil war in Libya show it was not a happy decision,” Renzi said, pointing out that a different strategy is needed for Syria.“The one thing we cannot allow ourselves is a repeat of Libya,” he added.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Canadian Defence Review - What Needs to be Reviewed

During the Speech from the Throne last Friday, Justin Trudeau's Liberal Majority Government had little to say on Defence - the few short sentences mentioned little to no specifics.

Here is the text relating to the CAF from the Throne Speech:

"...To contribute to greater peace throughout the world, the Government will renew Canada's commitment to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and will continue to work with its allies in the fight against terrorism.

To keep Canadians safe and be ready to respond when needed, the Government will launch an open and transparent process to review existing defence capabilities, and will invest in building a leaner, more agile, better-equipped military."

What does that all mean? 

We know that during the 2015 Federal Election the Liberals promised to withdraw from the Aireal Bombing Campaign against ISIS; scrap the F-35 Purchase; ensure the Navy got the Vessels it needs; and return to more Peacekeeping missions. Only one of these things was mentioned in the Throne Speech. As Rona Ambrose, the Leader of the Official Opposition pointed out following the reading, the Speech doesn't even mention ISIS. 

Let's take a look a a few things within the CAF that need a review; 

1. The Budget

Under the previous Liberal Government of Jean Chretien - the CAF called the 1990s the "Decade of Darkness." This is not all that far off from what is was. The Chretien Government cut defence spending 25% from $12 billion in 1993 to $9.4B in 1998; cut troop levels from 74,000 to below 60,000; while at the same time deploying CAF members on almost every UN Peacekeeping mission that came up. 

Some of these Missions were highly required; and were laden with heavy burdens for the CAF. One of these missions was the 2000-03 deployment to Ethiopia and Eritrea. Under OP ECLIPSE and OP ADDITION, CAF equipment was hit by a great tole of wear and tare. 

During the same time, Canada deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 - which led to a stretching of CAF personnel, when retention within the CAF became a huge problem.  All while the CAF was facing a nearly $15 billion equipment shortfall. 

This all helped the 2006 Conservative victory with their "Stand Up for Canada" campaign, followed by their Canada First Defence Strategy  (CFDS) in 2008. The Conservatives made jokes about the Liberal Parties management of the CAF; heavily called them out on deploying the CAF to arid (desert-like) climates in temperate (forest) camouflage.  The Conservatives also vowed to move beyond the operational "Tokenism" of peacekeeping, and allow Canada to make a substantial contribution to international security. 

Was the Conservative's decade all that much better? If we take a closer look; the period from 2006-2009 can almost be called "Golden Years" for the CAF. In 2006 the Conservatives quickly announced $17 Billion worth of procurement projects. The CAF would be shopping for: 
  • 3 Joint Support Ships; 
  • 6-8 Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships;
  • 4 C-17 Strategic Lift Aircraft; and 
  • 17 C-130 Tactical Transport Aircarft 
These were just to start the revitalization of the CAF. The Government at the time also announced  an increase to $14.5 Billion. 

Then came the CFDS - which outlined a 20-year funding formula that would increase defence spending 2% from 2008 until 2028. In real terms, the Budget would increase from $18 Billion (2008) to $30 Billion (*2028 Projection) - an increase of $490 Billion over two decades; of which nearly $50 billion would be for equipment acquisitions. The Government would increase the regular force back to over 70,000 and increase the reserves to 30,000. 

Added to the list of procurements for the CAF were: 
  • 65 "Next-Generation" Fighter Jets to replace the CF-18s; 
  • 100 Leopard-II Tanks;
  • 17 Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Aircraft to replace the Buffalo aircraft; 
  • 15 Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) Warships to revitalize the Royal Canadian Navy;
  • 10 to 12 Maritime Patrol Aircaft; and
  • A fleet (100+) close combat armored vehicles.   
Up until 2010-2011 the Conservative Government largely followed the CFDS - the budget had increased nearly 24%. The CAF had received: 
  • 3 C-17 Aircraft; 
  • Dozens of new C-130's;
  • Numerous new or leased tanks;
  • Numerous M-777 howitzers; and
  • purchased Chinook Strategic Lift Helicopters 
While these successes seem all well and good - the other procurement plans; particularly the replacement of the entire Naval fleet was on hold. This was partly because of cost overruns in the planning, and development stage of the National Ship Building Plan (NSBP) - it was largely the fault of Afghanistan that everything else was put on hold.

With the Afghan War (2001-2014) the army rightly became the priority; meaning a vast majority of procurement funds were being diverted into its needs. $1.3 Billion was used for the Leopard II tanks; the Parliamentary Budget put the total coast of Afghanistan at $18 Billion through 2011.

At the closing of the stimulous spending in the 2012 Budget, 1/5 of all savings were to come from Defence; and by 2014, 1/4 of all savings came out of Defence. This effectively made CFDS unusable.

From its height in 2011, Defence spending was at $22 Billion, but by 2013, that had dropped to $19 Billion; and when adjusted for inflation it was approimatly the same as it was in 2005 before the Conservatives took power. As a percentage of GDP, it stood at 1.1% (the same level as it was during the "Decade of Darkness")

With these cuts, most projects are underfunded - and on the rails of collapse. The CSC Ships are at least $15 Billion short - and the Navy is estimating it will only get 8 Vessels instead of the needed 15. As a stopgap measure, the CAF is spending $4.2 Billion on upgrades to the Halifax-class frigates to keep them operational until the CSC Fleet is ready (between 2025-2035); another $1.2 Billion to upgrade its current light armored vehicles; and $100 million on a second round of upgrades to the 77 CF-18's still flying; and will spend $500 million to lease a retrofitted boxship that will be made into an interim auxiliary oil replenishment ship (iAOR).

So a major review of the overall Defence budget is required. The Liberal Government has said it will withdraw from the JSF F-35 program which was going to cost nearly $16 Billion for 65 Fighters (including life cycle management costs) and find a cheaper alternative, while moving the saved funds into the CSC Fleet program. The FWSAR aircraft contract has not yet been awarded, and neither has the Maritime Patrol Aircraft contracts. The Liberals will need to be willing to put enough money into Defence to restore the CAF to pre-Afghan War equipment readiness levels. The CAF gained a great deal of experience in Afghanistan, but its equipment got worn out and needs to be replaced.

A Defence review must show that Defence needs more Money; as the Parliamentary Budget Officer believes that just on Procurement, the CAF is short between $33-$42 Billion (November 2015 figures).

"This gap must be addressed if the government hopes to recapitalize the CAF, maintain the current force structure, and ensure defence sustainability. This paper will explore some of the short- and long-term challenges currently facing the CAF, from capability gaps to recapitalization, and assess some of the Liberal promises to fix these problems. It concludes with some thoughts on the need to recalibrate defence resource allocations." (McDonough)
From Maclean's Magazine Defence Issue during the 2015 Election. 

2. Procurement 

Procurement has largely been a joke in the CAF for many years, plagued by an over complex bureaucracy - projects have been started, and cancelled multiple time costing taxpayers millions of dollars. The Procurement process needs to be simplified while ensuring the correct and needed equipment is purchased in a timely manner at an appropriate cost.

Here is a list of current projects and their overruns:

  • Arctic Off Shore Patrol Ships - Cost: $3.1 Billion for 6 to 8 Ships, the first delivery was expected in 2013 - it is now not expected until 2021; with the final ship in 2025. In all likely hood, only 6 will be built. 
  • Maritime Patrol Aircraft - Cost: $7 Bullion for 10 to 12 Aircraft. Delivery was supposed to take place in 2020 - but current fiscal restraints has the contract date not until 2025, with delivery taking place between 2026 and 2035. Instead the RCAF is spending $2 Billion to upgrade its 14 CP-140 Aurora's. 
  • Canadian Surface Combatant Fleet - Cost: $29 Billion (Estimated to be at least $14 Billion short). Original first delivery date was between 2016 and 2017; especially for the Joint Support Ships (AORs) but all dates now between 2021 and 2035. (This includes the JSS Contracts)
  • CF-18 Replacement Program - Cost $17 Billion (Estimate based on F-35 Purchase). Fleet was supposed to be replaced by 2017. CF-18s currently undergoing 2nd Life extension plan to keep the fleet flying until at least 2020, with delivery of new aircraft not expected until between 2025 and 2035. 
  • Close Combat Vehicles - Cost: $2.1 Billion - Project Cancelled in 2013 due to Financial Restraints. 
  • FWSAR Aircraft - Cost: $1.4 Billion - Original Delivery Date was 2014-2015. There has been no contract awarded, it is expected in early 2016, with delivery between 2021 and 2025. 
  •  UAV Program - Cost: $1.5 Billion - Original Delivery Date was 2011 - now not expected until between 2021 and 2025. 
  • LAV III Life Extension Program - Cost: $1.2 Billion - Expected completion 2018. 
  • Maritime Helicopter Program - Cost: $5.7 Billion - Replacement of the Sea King Helicopters. Program was started in 2004, with delivery in 2008. Was later cancelled and restarted. Now deliveries started in 2015 but full operational status not expected until 2018, and final delivery in 2020. 
  • Medium Support Vehicles (1,500 Military Pattern Trucks) - Cost: $1.2 Billion. The Program has been cancelled twice since 2006. Original delivery was set between 2008 and 2010. Contract was due in 2015 and delivery between 2017 and 2018. 
  • Medium Heavy Lift Helicopters - Cost: $4.9 Billion. 15 of 16 Planned were purchased; but 5 years later than originally scheduled. Last was delivered in 2014. 
  • Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle - Cost: $708 Million for 500 vehicles. Contract was awarded in 2012 with deliveries expected in 2014. Problems with the design of the vehicle has post postponed deliveries until at least 2016. 
A Defence review must show that Defence to simplify the procurement process, and increase the amount of currency available for these projects. As delays run longer, it is inevitable these programs will cost even more. 

3. Peacekeeping and Staffing Levels

If the Liberal Government plans to return Canada to it's global Peacekeeping Role, both Procurement and the Budget need to be fixed first. The more missions you deploy on, the greater amount of the Defence budget is spent on Deployment costs (higher wages, shipping, and equipment). Equipment breaks in theater, and it is often cheaper to scrap the equipment in theater than ship it home to repair it. The more missions, the more equipment you need to have to deploy in the first place.

So before you can deploy on a greater number of UN mandated missions, you need to resupply and re-arm the CAF; which means more Money. You also need to work on increasing staffing levels, which inevitably, you guessed it - costs more money. The more deployment CAF personnel go on, the higher number of retirements from the CAF - so retention then becomes an issue.

These are the three things that I believe need a review in the Canadian Defence World. What do you think?


Collins, Jeffrey F. "Reviving and Revising the Canada First Defence Strategy." (November 2014)

Maclean's Magazine: "Election Issues 2015:  A Maclean's Primer on Defence Spending" (August, 2 2015) 

McDonough, David. "Procurement Challenges for the New Liberal Government." CDA Institute Vimy Paper November 2015. 

Perry, David. "The Growing Gap Between Defence End and Means." CDA Institute Vimy Paper June 2014.