GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO THE REPORT
THE STANDING COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL DEFENCE AND VETERANS AFFAIRS
fACING OUR RESPONSIBILITIES –
THE STATE OF READINESS OF THE
The Government of Canada has considered carefully the
report of the Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs
(SCONDVA) on the State of Readiness of the Canadian Forces. The Government has taken note of the
twenty-five recommendations contained in the Report. The Government remains committed to ensuring that the Canadian
Forces are prepared to meet Canada’s security and defence needs, both
domestically and overseas. At the same
time, the Government recognizes – and has been very open about the fact – that
the Canadian Forces face significant challenges. The world is changing and the Canadian Forces must be modernized
and transformed to ensure they are able to meet their commitments today,
tomorrow and well into the future. The
key is to achieve the right balance in our investments between today and
tomorrow, between people and equipment, and between our ability to surge to
address crises or new international developments. This balance must also include the ability to sustain CF
operations. In the Speech from the
Throne, the Government committed to set out, before the end of this mandate, a
long-term direction on international and defence policy that reflects our
values and interests and ensures that Canada’s military is equipped to fulfill
the demands placed upon it.
This Response addresses each recommendation made by the Committee. In doing so, it provides a concise overview
of the Government’s position with respect to each recommendation. This Response also provides information on
the plans and initiatives in progress, and already in place, with respect to
the Canadian Forces’ state of readiness.
Recommendation 1: The government increase the
annual base budget for the Department of National Defence to between 1.5% to
1.6% of GDP, with the increase to be phased in over the next three years, and
continue to move towards the NATO average.
The Government remains committed to ensuring the
Canadian Forces have the resources they need. Significant new spending on
Defence has been allocated in recent years.
In Budget 1999, the Government increased the budget of National Defence
to address quality of life issues in the military, including compensation and
benefits. Budget 2000 invested funding
to assist Defence in meeting its highest priorities, and the Supplementary
Estimates of 2000-2001 provided additional funds for Defence for certain
capital equipment projects and for economic wage increases for the Canadian
together, the $3.9 billion in new funding in Budgets 1999 and 2000 and the
more than $1.2 billion in new funding in the 2001 Budget mean that the
Government will have increased Defence funding by a total of $5.1 billion
beginning in 2001-2002 and extending to 2006-2007.
The Government notes that expressing the defence budget as a percentage
of GDP is but one of the means to represent defence expenditures. It is worth noting that Canada is sixth
within NATO in terms of absolute expenditures on defence.
The Government will continue to take a balanced approach to allocating
the available surplus between tax cuts, debt reduction and new spending, and
will consider any increase to the defence budget in the context of its overall
Recommendation 2: In order for DND to be able
to purchase necessary capital equipment, in a timely fashion, the annual
shortfalls identified by the Auditor General, be made up as quickly as
3: Any future defence review have significant parliamentary and public input.
The views of Parliament and the public play an important role in
developing Canada’s defence policy. The
Standing Committee’s reports, along with those of the Standing Senate Committee
on National Security and Defence and those of a number of defence groups, have
provided comprehensive and useful analyses of some of the key issues and
challenges facing the Canadian Forces and the Department of National
Defence. The Government will continue
to take the views of Parliamentarians, defence experts and Canadians into
account as it establishes a long term direction on international and defence
Recommendation 4: The government review the
existing security and intelligence structure with a view to determining whether
or not open source and foreign intelligence are being effectively coordinated
and to determine whether or not an independent foreign intelligence agency
should be established in order to ensure that Canada’s vital national interests
are being served.
The steps taken by the government to enhance its security and
intelligence capabilities since September 11th, 2001 are having a
significant and positive effect.
For example, we are increasing the size and scope of the Intelligence
Assessments Secretariat located in the Privy Council Office, to ensure that it
is better able to provide foreign intelligence analyses and partner effectively
with international counterparts.
Our foreign intelligence needs are met through signals intelligence
collection by the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) (in Canada under
Section 16 of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Act),
through an Interview Programme administered by the Department of Foreign
Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and from intelligence
sharing with our Allies. We also
derive useful information, though not necessarily intelligence, from diplomatic
reporting by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
DFAIT, CSE and CSIS received additional resources in Budget 2001. Other efforts are underway to ensure that
the mechanisms we presently have for the collection of foreign intelligence and
general information on the world are used to their fullest extent through
greater co-ordination and sharing of resources.
The issue of a
foreign intelligence service arises from time to time. It is healthy to examine this idea and to
assess the adequacy of our intelligence capabilities and products. Any decision on such
an organization would only take place after considerable study of the need,
costs, and legal issues. At present,
the Government believes that the establishment of a separate Canadian foreign
intelligence agency would be premature.
5: The Department of National Defence put in place a comprehensive system for
determining the readiness of the Canadian Forces. This system should set clear
and standardized measurements of operational readiness for the CF and its
Defence is in the process of integrating a number of
separate readiness evaluation and reporting systems for the CF. A framework has
been established based on the Report on Plans and Priorities and the Defence
Plan. Work is now focused on
establishing the procedures and the reporting mechanisms to bring a CF wide
readiness and reporting system into effect.
This system will set clear and standardized measures of operational
readiness. Much of the developmental
work that is underway in relation to Readiness Reporting can be linked to the
Department’s Performance Measurement Framework that is also under
6: No notice inspections be carried out, on a regular basis, on the operational
readiness of selected commands and units of the Canadian Forces.
The Government believes that the use of no notice inspections has been
made systematic in the appropriate areas of the CF. A centralized operational readiness inspection team would risk
diverting scarce resources from other areas and National Defence has no plans
to establish such a team.
Recommendation 7: Yearly readiness evaluations
be done on the CF and its component units and that these be tabled with SCONDVA
The CF completes annual readiness evaluations on those units that need
to be evaluated based on operational requirements. Some information on readiness reporting is already included in
the annual Departmental Performance Report and the Chief of the Defence Staff
Annual Report on the CF, both of which are tabled in the House and made
available to all members of the Committee.
We acknowledge that there is room to improve in terms of public
reporting on readiness.
Recommendation 8: The Army proceed as quickly
as possible with changes in its training regime to ensure that all its units
undergo, on a regular basis, the full extent of combat training required to
improve and maintain its state of readiness at a high level, including training
at the battalion and brigade levels.
The Canadian Forces are in the process of changing the framework for
Army training at the battalion and brigade levels. Building on a recently-implemented programme of managed
readiness, the “Army Training and Operations Framework”, which incorporates a
formalized collective training framework for the Canadian Army, detailed
planning has commenced for the return to collective training at Brigade level,
comprising confirmation exercises for operationally-tasked Battle Groups.
Planning is focussed on embedding an annual, Army-directed Brigade Training
Event into the Army training calendar. This annual training is intended to stimulate
collective learning within the Army in a progressive and dynamic fashion. For
2003, the Brigade Training Event has been nicknamed Exercise Resolute Warrior
and will involve approximately 3500 soldiers.
Recommendation 9: The budget for the Land Forces
be increased in the next fiscal years to provide sufficient funding to improve
its level of readiness, especially with regards to combat training and the
replacement of obsolete equipment.
The Government remains committed to providing Defence with the resources
it requires to fulfill its mandate and it expects the Department of National
Defence to allocate those resources in a manner that delivers the Government’s
defence policy as effectively and efficiently as possible. The recent implementation of a managed
readiness framework within the Land Force is making the best use of available
resources. Within the Departmental
management framework, the examination of optimal capability delivery is an
ongoing activity. In developing a long
term direction on defence policy, further consideration will be given to the
optimal force structure for the future to continue to provide Canada with
multipurpose, combat capable, sea, land and air forces within available
Recommendation 10: The Department of National
Defence maintain its strong commitment to research and development in the
defence field and its cooperation with Canadian industries to ensure the design
and production of state‑of‑the art military equipment.
The Defence Research & Development (R&D) Program is the
responsibility of Defence R&D Canada (DRDC), an agency within the
Department of National Defence created in 2000. The agency provides expert Science &Technology advice in
support of defence policy, procurement and personnel development. It conducts
R&D activities to contribute to the success of Canadian military operations
and performs ongoing technology assessment to enhance military
preparedness. The technical program is
developed in consultation with five CF Client Groups: Maritime, Land, Air,
Human Performance, and Command & Control Information Systems. The department has developed a Technology
Investment Strategy to meet the future needs of the Canadian Forces. The strategy articulates twenty-one research
and development areas that are aligned with the National Defence vision
contained in Shaping the Future of Canadian Defence: Strategy 2020.
The Technology Investment Strategy will continue to be
refined as the future requirements of the Canadian Forces change with
time. The R&D program is delivered
through a mix of industrial and university contracting, collaborative
activities with other government research agencies, international
collaboration, and in-house activities at the five Defence Research Centres, at
Dartmouth, Valcartier, Ottawa, Toronto and Suffield. R&D investment in industry is essential to develop expertise
and technology in the Canadian defence industrial base so it can support CF
acquisition projects. Several elements
of the Defence R&D program contribute to the development and positioning of
Canadian industry to meet future CF requirements. Approximately 50% of the R&D program is contracted, leading
to a situation where
industry is clearly engaged in a variety of aspects of
applied research, exploratory development and technology demonstration.
Recommendation 11: The Department of National
Defence undertake a study on the future of JTF2 to determine its long-term
requirements in terms of resources, the implications of overseas deployments of
some of its personnel, and the advantages and disadvantages of establishing a
Canadian special force unit similar to U.S. and U.K. special force units
operating in Afghanistan. The Department should communicate to this Committee
the general conclusions of this study and its decisions, if any, concerning the
need for a special force.
As part of the 2001 Budget, the Government allocated new, ongoing
funding to expansion of the Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) capability. Work is proceeding to identify and analyse
the employment and force structure options for Canadian special operations
forces. This analysis is taking full
consideration of similar Coalition forces employed in Afghanistan. The Department of National Defence expects
to complete project planning for the expansion of JTF 2 in early 2003. Once this plan has been reviewed and
approved, the Government will communicate progress on this initiative and other
priorities through annual reporting to Parliament.
12: The Department of National Defence make a commitment as quickly as possible
to fund Phase 2 of the Land Force Reserve Restructure project so that the
revitalization and restructuring of the Army Reserve can proceed as currently
The Government remains committed to ensuring the Canadian Forces have the
resources they need and expects the Department of National Defence to
allocate those resources as effectively and efficiently as possible to deliver
the Government’s defence policy. The
Land Force Reserve Restructure (LFRR) initiative involves two phases, the first
of which is the stabilization of the Army reserve at a personnel level of
approximately 15,500. This phase is
underway and is projected to meet its goals by the end of fiscal year 2002-2003. It has been supported with additional monies
from both the Department and from within the Land Force funding envelope. The second phase of the project would see
the Militia increase in strength to an assumed critical mass of approximately
18,500 persons; successful implementation of this will require additional
resources. This will be taken into
account as the government establishes a long term direction on defence policy
that ensures that Canada’s military is equipped to fulfil the demands placed
Recommendation 13: The National Defence Act
be amended as quickly as possible to provide job protection to Reservists
called-up for duty during major emergencies such as conflicts and that efforts
be maintained, notably by the Canadian Forces Liaison Council, to encourage
employers to give Reservists time off for military exercises with job
Bill C-55, the Public Safety Act, 2002, introduced in the House
of Commons on April 29th 2002, contains amendments to the
National Defence Act to provide job protection to Reservists called out
compulsorily for duty in emergencies.
The Government notes the substantial support of SCONDVA for the
legislated job protection measures in the case of compulsory call-out in major
emergencies that are set out in Bill C-55.
While it acknowledges the importance of putting these measures in place,
it is satisfied that continued inclusion in Bill C-55 remains the most
Recommendation 14: The government approve the
funding for the acquisition, over the span of a decade, of at least three
replenishment ships with roll-on roll-off capabilities to provide a strategic
sealift capability for overseas deployments and to replace the two
replenishment ships currently in service.
The Department of National Defence is currently investigating options
to replace its existing replenishment ships that provide support to the
Maritime Forces at sea, and to improve the capability for strategic lift in
support of other Government objectives.
Recommendation 15: New replenishment and other ships
acquired for Canada’s Navy be constructed in Canadian shipyards in keeping with
efforts to maintain this country’s shipbuilding capability and defence
industrial base in general.
June 19, 2001, Industry Canada promulgated a new Shipbuilding and Industrial
Marine Policy Framework. In announcing
the new framework, the government noted that the federal procurement issue was
complex and required further review and consideration. Industry Canada released the promised
procurement study on May 23, 2002.
The report notes that no major projects are likely until 2005-2006 at
the earliest. The report states: “There is not enough domestic federal
government newbuild requirement for large ships alone to support the existence
of the two largest shipyards. These
yards must be commercially viable, independent of government procurement.”
is in order to support a shipbuilding sector that is efficient, productive,
innovative and competitive in the global market that Industry Canada is putting
the elements of the policy framework into place. The framework, consisting of over 20 realistic and
affordable measures, includes a new financial program [Structured Financing
Facility], competitive export financing through the Export Development
Corporation, export promotion support through Team Canada Inc.; securing
greater Canadian industrial benefits from the development of offshore oil and
gas; and access for the shipbuilding and industrial marine sectors to
Technology Partnerships Canada for the development of innovative
technologies. The new program focuses
on opportunity, growth and innovation in niche markets where Canada can
policy is that Canadian government ship needs will be met in Canada, as long as
competitive conditions exist. Canadian
shipyards that are capable of fulfilling requirements will continue to have the
chance to compete on future government procurements, as and when those
Recommendation 16: Canada
acquire additional heavy lift transport aircraft and replace older models to
ensure the strategic and tactical airlift capacity required to rapidly and
effectively deploy the personnel and equipment required for overseas
Depending on the circumstances, the Government has several options for
moving the CF around the world by air to meet operational requirements,
including government owned and operated aircraft, leased or contracted airlift,
or agreements with allies. In general,
we have always succeeded in getting our forces to and from overseas
deployments. Options to best meet the
operational requirements of the CF will be considered before the end of this
Recommendation 17: The project for the
replacement of the four Tribal class destroyers with new warships with superior
command and control as well as air defence capabilities should proceed.
The Government recognizes the importance of maintaining a command and
control and air defence capability for its naval task groups. These capabilities have proven to be of
tremendous value to the nation in times of crisis such as the Gulf War and
Operation APOLLO. In both cases the
capabilities of the Iroquois class destroyers have resulted in Canadian
officers being assigned major command functions, including control of the
forces of other nations. That said,
there are a number of options available to maintain this capability in Canadian
naval task groups into the future.
Maintaining the command and control and air defence capability may not
require the one for one replacement of the four Tribal class destroyers.
Recommendation 18: The mid-life upgrading and
refit of the 12 frigates be given a high priority so that Canada’s naval
capabilities are not allowed to slide into obsolescence as happened so many
times in the past.
The Government recognizes the importance of maintaining the
capabilities of Canada’s maritime forces.
The Department of National Defence has begun preliminary project
definition work for the mid-life upgrade and refit of the Halifax Class
Canadian Patrol Frigates. This project
is part of the Departmental long term capital equipment program.
Recommendation 19: The process of selecting and
acquiring the airframe or basic vehicle and the electronic equipment for the
new maritime helicopter project be accelerated to ensure that all of the Sea
King helicopters will be replaced by the end of the decade.
The Maritime Helicopter
Project has implemented a unique “pre-qualification” process whereby theproposed basic helicopters and missions systems will
be evaluated prior to receipt of formal proposals from industry. Shortly after the Government announcement of
the project on August 17, 2000, a Letter of Interest was released to industry
encouraging feedback on the Statement of Requirement, draft specifications and
the procurement process. Given the
importance of the Maritime Helicopter Project, the Government undertook a
careful examination of the many issues raised by industry. Where solutions proposed by industry cannot
be accommodated given the Statement of Requirements, bidders will be given the
opportunity to propose changes to their submission in order to achieve
compliance. This unique process is
being implemented in order to reduce the risk to bidders and government of a
As this is a complex
Major Crown Project, it is necessary to take the time needed to ensure that the
Government acquires the best helicopter for Canada at the lowest price. However, as with any
large and complex project of this type, the possibility of delay exists. It
remains our goal to get the right aircraft as soon as possible.
Recommendation 20: No efforts be spared to
provide the Sea King helicopters with all the mechanical, electronic, and other
equipment necessary to ensure their effective and safe operation until they are
withdrawn from service.
The Air Force follows a very strict
maintenance and inspection regime that includes pre- and post-flight
inspections as well as numerous preventative maintenance checks. These
inspections ensure that the Sea King is a safe vehicle to fly and can continue
to fulfill its assigned tasks into the foreseeable future.
Significant investments have also been made
to ensure that the Sea King will continue to maintain an acceptable level of
operational capability and most importantly safety of flight, while performing
its assigned missions. For example, we
are nearing completion of a $50 million upgrade to the engines, gearboxes andcenter airframe section.
This has renewed the power plant life, removed safety concerns with regard to
the old gearboxes and strengthened the overall structural integrity of the
airframe. The benefits of these
investments are already apparent.
Operational availability of the Sea King fleet improved from 29% in 1997
to just over 50% to date in 2002.
Recommendation 21: All 18 Aurora long-range
patrol aircraft be modernized and kept in the Air Force’s inventory of aircraft
so that they can continue to fulfil all their roles, including search and
rescue and surveillance flights in Canada’s North.
The estimated life expectancy of the CP-140
Aurora airframe and propulsion systems is currently established as 2010, while
ongoing efforts are expected to extend this to 2015 and beyond. However, since the early 1990s, the Aurora’s
operational effectiveness and interoperability with Canada’s defence partners
has diminished. To address the growing
number of operational deficiencies, the Department of National Defence
established the Aurora Incremental Modernization Project (AIMP) in 1998. With an approved budget of $1.4 billion, AIMP remains one of the
Air Force’s top priority modernization projects consisting of 23 subprojects
that will update the Aurora’s entire suite of mission avionics including
navigation, communications, mission computer and sensors.
AIMP is now effectively in full
implementation as several major contracts have already been awarded and are
progressing according to plan. It is
anticipated that thefull capability of the modernized Aurora will be realized by 2008, with
significant capability updatesentering operational service in stages during the life of the
project. The AIMP will modernize 16
production CP-140s, with the remaining two aircraft being used for prototype
and proof-fit, systems-integration and testing.
The decision to retain 16 modernized aircraft
was based on the need for the CF to maintain an optimal and affordable force
structure. The decision was made after
studying the cost of fully supporting the modernized fleet. The supporting analysis examined spares and
support costs for maintenance, the number of crews, and the yearly flying
rates. Additional factors such as the
increased capability of flight simulators, increased sensor capability of the
Aurora and the use of other sensor systems for long range surveillance (such as
radar satellites) were also used to determine the optimal and affordable fleet
Recommendation 22: The Canadian government
authorities continue to explore with their U.S. counterparts possible ways
of improving the longstanding cooperation between Canada and the U.S. in NORAD
and in the defence of North America in general, in light of the establishment
by the U.S. of its new Northern Command, and that Parliament be kept informed.
NORAD’s contribution to the defence of North America was amply
demonstrated on and after September 11th, 2001. Canada and the U.S.
have sought to maintain NORAD, with its provisions for binational reporting and
approval, as a cornerstone of bilateral defence relations. The reporting
relationship of Commander NORAD to the Prime Minister and the President will
In addition to bolstering NORAD’s capability for surveillance of
continental airspace, Canada and the U.S. have undertaken steps to improve
bilateral coordination involving multiple government actors on both sides of
the border through the Great-Lakes/Saint Lawrence Seaway Cross Border Task
Force, which targets the illicit traffic of people and goods across the
maritime sector of our border with the U.S.
While the newly-created U.S. Northern Command will remain U.S.-only,
the process which led to its creation has afforded Canada and the U.S. the
opportunity to explore practical and sensible measures to improve cooperation
for maritime and land operations, including assistance to civil authorities.
Representatives from DND and the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade continue to meet their U.S. counterparts to discuss a range
of potential options. The Government
will be in a position to decide on enhanced military cooperation with the U.S.
when the discussions conclude.
Recommendation 23: Sufficient numbers of new
and replacement transport aircraft be acquired in the near future to meet the
domestic needs of Canada, including search and rescue operations, while
ensuring the airlift capacity required for foreign deployments, as called for
in recommendation 16.
Depending on the circumstances, the Government has several options to
meet the airlift needs of the CF for domestic and overseas operations. These include government owned and operated
aircraft, leased or contracted airlift, or agreements with allies. In general, we have always succeeded in
getting our forces to and from domestic operations and overseas deployments. Options to best meet the operational
requirements of the CF will be considered before the end of this mandate.
Recommendation 24: The Department of National
Defence, together with the Department of Veterans Affairs, give a high priority
and additional funding to programs designed to help members of the Canadian
Forces dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other
psychological/physical injuries following their participation in peacekeeping
or combat missions abroad or in training, rescue, or other operations within
Canada in order to maintain a good quality of life for the individuals.
DND and Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC) recognize that CF members have
returned from deployments with psychological, emotional, spiritual and
relationship problems related to that military mission. This group of conditions is collectively
referred to as Operational Stress Injuries (OSI). Both departments have established a comprehensive number of
programs to identify, diagnose, treat and support these injured veterans. There are plans in place from both
departments to provide even more resources to address these significant and
disabling problems. Efforts to manage
physical symptoms arising after stressful military operations are discussed in
response to Recommendation 25.
DND and VAC remain committed to investing the resources required to
provide the best possible care to our Canadian Forces personnel.
Recommendation 25: The Department of National
Defence and the Department of Veterans Affairs continue extensive research on
all the possible causes of what is referred to as the Gulf War Syndrome and any
other psychological/physical injuries.
It is clear that service in the Gulf War is associated with an
increased rate of reported symptoms and worsening subjective health, even if
most research has not confirmed the existence of a specific new syndrome. It is also becoming increasingly obvious
that illnesses seen in our Gulf War veterans can be found in returning veterans
from multiple Canadian deployments.
Indeed, post-combat illnesses have now been well described in the
medical literature for conflicts dating back over 150 years.
VAC and DND have already launched a number of research initiatives to
better understand the root causes of these debilitating illnesses. VAC has a new Research Directorate and DND
has a new Post-Deployment Cell. Their
mandates include the monitoring of the world’s literature on post-deployment
health, the development of education packages for CF health care providers,
veterans and the public at large, the advancement of new research protocols and
the publication of the findings in peer-reviewed medical journals. Both departments have established a closer
working relationship with each other as well as with international colleagues
struggling with the same problems.
Post-conflict illnesses have vexed veterans and their health care
providers for almost two centuries. VAC
and DND are both committed to conducting the necessary research studies to
break this cycle.