Wednesday, January 26, 2005

The Centre Cannot Hold

There is a good discussion over at The Heart of the Matter on the Canadian Forces and what to do about it's current situation. The comments from other bloggers are particularly thoughtful. My poor contribution to the commentary is as follows.

Let us all agree that things cannot go on as they are. The two Senate reports in the last year on the state of the Canadian military (on the Senate website) should disabuse even a dove of the foolishness of allowing the rust out and degradation of capabilities to continue. The Forces are hemorrhaging and cannot wait five years or so until the government of the day writes and implements a white paper.

I support the need for a strategic direction (upon which we base numbers, equipment and training). I just believe that current circumstances dictate that the grand strategy stuff must be done concurrently with some immediate remedial action.

Reducing foreign commitments, increasing authorized strength, concentrating existing depleted human resources on training new personnel and the purchase of critical materiel are but a few of the must-do things, regardless of the grand strategy which emerges from a white paper review.

We must also change the military procurement system, which is obviously too prone to political pork barrel politics and is focused on regional economic development support, rather than any identifiable needs of the military. This escalates costs out of sight. In the short term we need some off the shelf kit, not domestic designed, or manufactured, make-work projects.

As for the fiscal resource side, the reported federal surplus for just the first eight months of this fiscal year is rumoured to be about $10.5 billion. The money is there. It is the political will and the popular support that is lacking. The latter will follow the former if political leadership is given by our elected representatives. On that matter, I'm not holding my breath. Hmmm. Think I'll post this on my blog with today's rant on things military. It'll demonstrate that my Madness is episodic rather than continuous. Per ardua ad Astra.
See, ... I'm capable of some degree of rational thought as well as rip roaring rants. Good night.


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