Friday, July 7, 2017

The Battle to get More Women into the Military

This article was originally published on The Conversation, an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts. Disclosure information is available on the original site.

The Trudeau government released a new defence policy in early June, after months of speculation about the size of the defence budget, purchase of major equipment and Canada’s future role in military operations.

The election of Donald Trump in the U.S. no doubt threw the process off course and forced certain revisions to the policy, which was initially due in January. The policy offers guidelines on the types of operations the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) might undertake and promises a steady increase in funding over the next decade. But its main focus is on people — the women and men who dedicate their life to military service.

Highlighting the importance of diversity, the policy pays special attention to female service members and aims “to further increase the representation of women in the military by one per cent annually towards a goal of 25 per cent in 10 years.” Driving this shift is the assumption the CAF is in need of culture change — and that more women and the use of gender perspectives will improve the effectiveness of the armed forces.

Reflecting the community it serves

Why are women now seen as critical to the military enterprise?

First, greater diversity in the CAF is key to maintaining a healthy connection between the military and the rest of society. The CAF Diversity Strategy recognizes this and envisions an armed force representative of the community it serves to ensure public legitimacy and keep support for the military strong.

How can the CAF attract more women? There are formal commitments to recognize the importance of retaining diverse personnel, but informal barriers remain. The CAF already has some of the longest parental-leave policies in the world. But single parents and women still face professional setbacks.

The CAF must quickly recognize and address the pressures of military careers on families, which includes frequent moves and prolonged absences from loved ones during deployments. Counting parental leave toward promotion will also be necessary for the professional advancement of women, who disproportionately take on the role of primary caregiver.

Women are also less likely than men to consider a military career in the first place.

To address these well-known challenges, the CAF’s new recruitment strategy will aim to showcase the wide variety of occupations it offers, in an attempt to make the military more attractive to women. The Women in Force Program will also allow for a “try it before you buy it” program for women interested in joining but not ready to commit.

Seeking buy-in among the ranks

Second, a more diverse CAF is good for the entire organization, men included. Although adding more women will not result in immediate and transformative changes in the way the CAF does business, research has shown that diverse teams work better.

Military leaders will have to constantly promote these initiatives, but will also have to assuage fears about the maintenance of physical and performance standards. All members of the armed forces must trust that standards will be enforced fairly if the diversity strategy is to have buy-in at all levels.

This kind of broad-based buy-in has proven elusive in the past. Even if no formal professional barriers remain, there is still organizational resistance to women’s presence in non-traditional roles, such as combat. And women are still disproportionately affected by sexual misconduct, as a recent survey showed. Discriminatory and sexist attitudes, thus, persist.

‘Hop on Her’ controversy

These common narratives can be tempered with dedicated leadership. In the military context, these challenges need a commitment to addressing hard-to-answer questions.

For example, the Chief of the Defence Staff issued Operation Honour, an order meant to eradicate harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour in the CAF’s ranks. This was a leadership decision that addressed a difficult and pervasive challenge for the military. But some members of the armed forces started undermining the initiative by calling it “Hop on Her.”.

This is where leaders in the military — who are mostly men — must be included in the discussion of promoting gender perspectives and women’s participation in the armed forces. For these reasons, the burden of change cannot rest on women’s shoulders, but must be spread evenly across the entire organization.

Education and training are key. Including feminist texts in the military curriculum or challenging the warrior ethos might lead to greater gender awareness amongst the upper cadre of military leaders, but most operators will only pay attention if they see how gender matters on the battlefield.

To this end, highlighting the link between gender (as opposed to women) and operational effectiveness is necessary. When soldiers are on the ground, accounting for the roles played by women and men — and their unique needs and power differences — is critical to operational planning and securing lasting outcomes. Understanding how gender intersects with social and cultural factors leads to greater situational awareness. Gender roles in Afghanistan and in Iraq, for example, had clear operational implications.

Promoting the operational and social benefits of women in the CAF is just the first step toward increasing their numbers in the military. To move beyond commitments and toward organizational change and buy-in, the CAF must go beyond women’s representation in the ranks and become aware of how gender relations are constructed, at home and on the battlefield.

Authors: Stefanie von Hlatky, Assistant Professor of Political Studies and Director of the Centre for International and Defence Policy, Queen’s University, Ontario and Meaghan Shoemaker, PhD Student, International Relations and Gender and Politics, Queen’s University, Ontario

Boeing to Get $200 Million Maintenance Contract Despite Bombardier Fight

By: David Pugliese, The National Post 

A $200 million deal would see Boeing maintain the military’s C-17 aircraft despite claims by the Liberal government it is getting tough on the U.S. firm for its complaint against Bombardier
Boeing C-17 Globemaster III is being assembled at the Boeing assembly facility in Long Beach, Calif. in a July 31, 2012. The Canadian government may grant Boeing a massive contract to maintain the air force's fleet of C-17s despite a trade dispute with Bombardier. Damian Dovarganes/ The Canadian Press
Canada is set to approve a $200 million deal that would see Boeing maintain the military’s C-17 aircraft despite claims by the Liberal government it is getting tough on the U.S. firm for its complaint against Bombardier.

Liberal ministers have said all military procurement with Boeing is being reviewed as a result of that company’s decision to file a complaint with the U.S. government against Bombardier. Boeing is alleging Canada is unfairly subsidizing Bombardier’s CSeries civilian transport aircraft.

The Liberal government has also threatened to back away from the proposed purchase of 18 Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets.

The Boeing F-18 Super Hornet performs during its demonstration flight. Remy De La Mauviniere/ Associated Press / The Associated Press
But the upcoming C-17 deal shows how difficult it is to use military procurements as a bargaining chip.

Boeing, which built the C-17 transports, currently helps maintain those planes for the Royal Canadian Air Force. That agreement expires on Sept. 20, according to Public Services and Procurement Canada. To walk away from a new deal would jeopardize the operation of the RCAF’s fleet of five C-17s, military officers say.

Canada purchases C-17 maintenance and support from the U.S. government through what is called a foreign military sale. Boeing, however, does most of the work. The new deal on C-17 maintenance will cost Canadian taxpayers $195 million U.S.

The U.S. Congress was informed of the Canadian deal in late April.

“The Liberals don’t have much choice on the C-17 maintenance,” said Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst who teaches strategic studies at York University in Toronto. “Boeing is the prime contractor on that aircraft and a lot of the work will be done at Boeing.”

According to the U.S. government, the work on the Canadian C-17s will be done at Boeing’s facilities at Long Beach, Calif., and in St. Louis, Missouri. Lockheed Martin will also be involved.

In addition, the U.S. government noted that there are currently 13 employees from Boeing now in Canada who provide C-17 technical support on a regular basis.

The Liberal government declined to provide a list of the Boeing contracts or procurements it is reviewing. Instead Anthony Laporte, press secretary for procurement minister Judy Foote, repeated in an email that, “Canada is reviewing current military procurement that relates to Boeing. ”

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that review in May.

Shortly before Freeland made her statement, a Boeing-built military communications satellite, paid for by Canada and other countries, was launched in the U.S. Canada contributed $340 million to the Wideband Global satellite built by Boeing. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan praised the project, noting that the satellite will provide key communications for the Canadian military.

Sajjan said Boeing’s complaint against Bombardier is “not the behaviour of a trusted partner.” He called on the U.S. firm to withdraw its complaint but Boeing has declined. “This is a commercial matter that Boeing is seeking to address through the normal course for resolving such issues,” the firm noted in a statement.

Sajjan said Canada has had a good relationship with Boeing over the decades but the firm’s actions have now damaged that.

The Liberals are continuing to review the Super Hornet jet proposal and whether they should continue with the purchase. But Liberal ministers acknowledge Canada continues to have discussions with the Pentagon over the acquisition of the Super Hornets. If it proceeds, the Super Hornet purchase is expected to cost between $5 billion and $7 billion.

Shadwick said the Liberals might also find it difficult to back away from the Super Hornet deal. Sajjan has stated the Canadian military faces a critical gap in that it lacks enough fighter aircraft. New jets are needed quickly, the minister added.

Other aerospace firms are in the wings ready to offer Canada new aircraft, including Lockheed Martin with its F-35 fighter jet. “The political optics on a F-35 purchase wouldn’t be too good since Justin Trudeau campaigned directly against that aircraft,” Shadwick explained. “To turn around and then purchase the planes as an interim solution may be challenging from a political point of view.”

But Shadwick pointed out that the Boeing complaint against Bombardier could hurt the U.S. firm’s chances in the future in winning new defence contracts from Canada. Canada is interested in buying new patrol aircraft and aerial refuelling planes. Boeing has indicated it is interested in both of those multi-billion dollar programs.

Change of Command for Operation CROCODILE

DND Press Release

A change of command ceremony was held today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for Operation CROCODILE as Colonel Cayle Oberwarth assumed command of Task Force DRC from Colonel Pierre Huet.
Outgoing Commander, Col. Pierre Huet (left), and incoming Commander Col. Cayle Oberwarth (right), signed the transfer of authority documents on July 7, 2017, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, for the command of Op CROCODILE.
Operation CROCODILE is Canada’s military contribution to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO).

The Canada Armed Forces (CAF) personnel deployed on this mission represent a positive and impartial presence in the DRC and provide credible and professional support to the UN monitoring presence which promotes security and stability in Africa.

Colonel Cayle Oberwarth, Incoming Commander, is honored by the opportunity to command Canada's military contribution to the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He and his highly trained and motivated colleagues are ready to face the challenges and opportunities of this mission. In the footsteps of their predecessors, they look forward to maintaining their commitment to the United Nations and to working with their allies to maintain a safe and secure environment in this region of Africa.

Colonel Pierre Huet, Outgoing Commander, Task Force Democratic Republic of the Congo, was extremely proud to have led this team of professional and dedicated Canadian Armed Forces members over the past year. He leaves this mission with a great sense of accomplishment and salutes the achievements of the deployed personnel on Op CROCODILE in support of peace and security in the region

As commander of Task Force Democratic Republic of the Congo, Colonel Oberwarth commands nine CAF personnel with expertise in operations, liaison, and planning. They are employed at MONUSCO Headquarters in Kinshasa and the forward headquarters in Goma.

Canada continues to support UN peacekeeping efforts and has been actively involved in ensuring security and stability in the Congo region since 2000.

MONUSCO’s mandate is to protect civilians from threats of physical violence, while working with the local government and international actors to strengthen the Congolese government’s capacity to deliver justice and security for its people.

MONUSCO is a peacekeeping mission under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter authorized to use armed force, if necessary, to protect civilians threatened with physical violence. It is also charged with contributing to the improvement of security conditions.

As of May 31, 2017, MONUSCO mission strength stood at 16,436 soldiers in formed units, 481 UN Military Observers, 2,329 police officers, 791 UN civilian employees, 2,525 locally engaged staff, and 389 UN volunteers.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

RCAF Commander - Government Taking Necessary Time on Fighter Replacement

By: Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - The head of the Royal Canadian Air Force has refuted suggestions, including from more than a dozen of his predecessors, that the Trudeau government is needlessly dragging its feet on new fighter jets.

Lt.-Gen. Mike Hood instead said the Liberals are taking "a prudent amount of time," as choosing Canada's next fighter is a big decision — especially since it will likely be in use for decades.

A pilot positions a CF-18 Hornet at the CFB Cold Lake, in Cold Lake, Alberta on Tuesday, October 21, 2014. Royal Canadian Air Force commander Lt.-Gen. Mike Hood is pushing back against critics who say the Liberal government is taking too long to launch a competition for new fighter jets. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
"Fighter operations, there is a lot to chew on," Hood said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"The timelines the government and the minister have articulated will let them be absolutely sure that they're making the right choice for a final fighter that will probably be flying when I'm going to the grave."

The Liberals' new defence policy includes a promise to replace Canada's 76 aging CF-18s with 88 new warplanes, which is an increase from the 65 previously promised by the Harper Conservatives.

The policy estimates the new fighters will cost between $15 billion and $19 billion, up from the $9 billion previously budgeted by the Tories.

The Liberals say the extra fighter jets are required to meet a new policy, adopted in September, that increased the number of warplanes that must always be ready for operations.

But fighter-jet companies such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing, which make the F-35 and Super Hornet, respectively, won't be asked to submit formal bids until next year at the earliest.

That is despite many defence experts, including 13 retired Air Force commanders in February, saying a competition to replace the CF-18 fleet can and should be launched immediately.

They say doing so would negate the need for 18 "interim" Super Hornets, which would save taxpayer dollars and keep from diverting personnel and resources away from other areas of the Air Force.

But Hood played down those concerns, saying that he'll have no trouble operating an interim fighter fleet if "I'm given the resources and the priority that I need."

That doesn't mean there won't be challenges in growing the size of Canada's fighter fleet, he admitted, notably in terms of having enough pilots and technicians to fly and fix the new jets.

The problem has been exacerbated by the fact that while airlines are currently on a hiring binge, Hood said, the Air Force can't ramp up the number of pilots it puts through flight school each year.

"We brought in a pilot-training system in the early 2000s that had a maximum capacity to deliver about 115 pilots a year. With attrition going up, I'd probably want to produce 140 this year, but I can't."

However, Hood is hoping planned changes to the training regime and new initiatives such as recruiting potential technicians directly out of community college will help grow his ranks.

At the same time, the military is looking at ways to improve working conditions across the board to keep experienced personnel in uniform and not lose them.

The plan to grow the number of fighter jets is only one area in which the Air Force is slated to grow in the coming years, with new armed drones, search-and-rescue aircraft and other equipment having also been promised.

Hood said that represents a significant and welcome turn of events after the service was dramatically weakened by years of cuts.

"When General (Rick) Hillier talked about the 'Decade of Darkness,'" Hood said, "the lion's share of that was done on the back of the Air Force in the '90s."

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

General Warns Canada's SOF Operating on 'Borrowed Time'

The Canadian Press,

The deputy commander of Canada’s special forces says his troops risk being run ragged after three years in Iraq, as well as several other lesser-known missions in other parts of the world.

Brig.-Gen. Peter Dawe says that’s why the Liberal government’s plan to add more than 600 additional soldiers to the elite force is not only welcome, but necessary.

Canada currently has about 2,000 special forces soldiers, many of whom Dawe says have done multiple tours through Iraq since first being sent to help fight the Islamic State group in August 2014.

But Canadian special forces have also been called upon to help train local forces facing extremist threats in different parts of Africa, Southeast Asia and Central America.

The demand doesn’t appear to be letting up, as the government announced last week that Canadian soldiers will stay in Iraq for at least another two years.

Dawe says his troops continue to get the job done, but have been operating “on borrowed time” and need the help to ensure they — and their families — don’t suffer burnout.