Tuesday, December 07, 2004

And, they are surprised, why?

The Senate Committee on National Defence and Security was apparently shocked to learn, from Vice Admiral Ron Buck, that a Liberal election promise to increase the Regular Force by 5,000 and the Reserves by 3,000 will take at least five years. And then, only if there is a significant increase in defence spending.

With the greatest of respect to the House of Sober Second Thought, which planet have they been on for the past forty years? You cannot cut the heart out of the defence budget and increase tasking, and not pay the price. One of the prices is that the CF has no, repeat, no capability to grow in anything resembling the short-term. I, and many others, have repeatedly said that it will take twenty years to restore the CF to what should be expected, and that can only happen if we start doing the right thing today.

The capability to recruit and train has been stripped away, because all the recruiters and trainers have been required to be doers. The more the doers are forced to do, the more decide to move on so that they and their families may have something resembling a life. The more doers that move on, the more recruiters and trainers are turned into doers. The fewer recruiters and trainers we have, the longer it takes for new members to be recruited and trained, and the more give up in disgust and impatience on a military career. And, I haven’t even talked about capital acquisition programs that are long, long overdue and can’t find the people or the money required to progress.

This spiral has been spinning out of control for many years and it doesn’t take one of Don Cherry’s rocket surgeons to figure out where it leads. It leads to where we are today. The CF is flat on its butt and the only thing keeping it going is the incredible quality, dedication and can-do attitude of its members, from the buck-privates to the Admiral Bucks.

We have collectively let them down; and, by doing that, we have let Canada down; and by doing that; we have let our allies down; and by doing that, we have let the World down. Everyone in that chain of let-down deserves better.


Blogger Dex said...

You have faith in the forces that is why you speak, you have love of your country and that is why you serve. Looking back in time in my home country we endured shame,doubt but overcome and always stand ready when the time come.

5:46 PM  
Blogger Dr_Funk said...

the basic problem, aside from the chronic neglect of the Forces by governments over the past 30 years or so, is that the Forces, like most employers, faces a severe demographic crunch over the next 10 years or so. The boomer generation is retiring, early in many cases, and this puts a strain on any large organization to keep skilled jobs filled. What exacerbates it is that the Forces is unwilling to expend the effort to keep people: they offer incentives to join and a lot fewer incentives to stay. Too many leaders and administrators are still thinking like the 70s or 80s when you could just say, shut up and do your job. Its not going to get easier, its going to get harder.

1:56 PM  

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