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FascistLibertarian





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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2007 5:22 pm    Post subject: Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy: After Afghanistan Reply with quote

http://sdfdiscussionboard.ca/viewtopic.php?id=44

Terry Copp

If we were to list Canada’s foreign policy priorities issues related to international trade, environmental degradation, arctic sovereignty and national security would rank ahead of a commitment to supporting international peace and stability operations. It has therefore been somewhat surprising to witness the developments of the past several years which have placed Afghanistan at the centre of Canadian foreign, defence and aid policy. The origins of an Afghan-centric approach are clear enough. Since the Ogdensburg agreement of 1940 Canadian governments have usually allowed good relations with Washington to trump all other interests and there is little doubt that the Chrétien government agreed to participate in Operation “Enduring Freedom” the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan to compensate for the refusal to sign on for the invasion of Iraq. The decision to join ISAF, the NATO-led, U.N. mandated International Security Assistance force in the summer of 2003 involved a larger commitment but Operation “Athena”, as the Canadian forces called their mission to Kabul, was well within the tradition of previous stability operations conducted under UN or NATO auspices and it only occurred after the Bush administration dropped its opposition to NATO command in Afghanistan.
The full story of the decision to shift the focus to Kandahar province, in 2005, has yet to be told. Shortly before the official announcement Bill Graham, the Defence Minister, spoke of the Martin government’s intention to take a leading role in one of the most dangerous provinces of Afghanistan during our first major Afghanistan policy conference at Laurier. Neither Graham nor the Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier could have anticipated the scale of the Taliban offensive in 2006 but they did appreciate the challenges of operating in the home base of the Taliban. Some members of Graham’s audience recognized the announcement as a significant shift in our foreign and defence policy but the real concern, given the ongoing coverage of American treatment of prisoners of war in Iraq, was what would Canadian Forces do with captured Taliban fighters and suspects who were detained. The consensus was that they would not be handed over to the Americans but to the Afghans. An answer that then seemed satisfactory.
Currently Canada is maintaining 2,500 military personnel in Afghanistan as part of Operation Athena in Kandahar under Regional Command South, 30 at the Afghan National Training Centre and 15 in Kabul serving as a Strategic Advisory team to the Afghan government. Canada has also assumed responsibility for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team one of 25 PRTs functioning in various parts of the country. The current strength of our PRT is just over 300 including diplomats, development experts, police and the military. A rifle company detached from the combat force is assigned for additional protection. One of the key purposes of this conference is to evaluate the contribution of this and other PRTs and we look forward to hearing from those with direct experience.
Canada, as a signatory to the “Afghanistan Compact” of February 2006 is pledged to support the ISAF mission until 2011 with a specific promise to maintain our combat forces in Kandahar to February 2009. Politicians in all four major parties have seized on the 2009 date as crucial but leaving partisan politics aside we will need to withdraw or significantly reduce our combat group relatively soon to allow the army to regenerate and retrain. An army of 15,000 men and women cannot sustain the regular deployment of half of its available strength and expect to remain an effective force.
Our commitments to Afghanistan will determine our foreign and defence policy for the next several years and we can anticipate a continuing, though less intense and costly role, in that country for some time to come. While we are considering a new approach to Afghanistan, one that perhaps places a greater emphasis on training and equipping the Afghan National Army and increasing funding to humanitarian NGOs we should also turn our attention to debating the outline of a foreign and defence policy “after Afghanistan”. As an historian my tendency is to avoid theoretical discussion and concentrate on specifics.
The era of George W. Bush is ending. The actions he has authorized during the past six years will live on to influence many aspects of life in the first decades of the 21st century but we should not doubt the possibility of major changes in U.S. foreign policy. There is a very real opportunity for Canada to concentrate on diplomatic, developmental and military force goals that address the question “What can we do effectively?” as well as the question “What should we do politically?”
Realistically we must assume that national defence programs to replace the aging fleet of naval vessels and aircraft together with the transformation and growth of the army will absorb such enormous resources that large increases in foreign aid are unlikely. National Defence is still working on a policy statement outlining a “Canada First” program that will emphasize the security of our land borders, coasts and especially the arctic. Even if the promised Northern refueling port, training base and patrol ships for the Northwest passage are delayed or re-visited this will be a major policy focus for years to come. Diplomatic initiatives such as those that led to the Ottawa Treaty on landmines are unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Perhaps the future of the 3Ds, Development, Diplomacy, and Defence or as Ernie Degher advocates the 4Ds including Disarmament lies in doing a number of small things done well. Earlier this month a good friend and Centre associate LCl David Patterson spoke to our military studies conference about Op. “Augural” the mission he commanded in support of the African Union force in Darfur. The Canadian forces have twelve members deployed for this task six to provide staff support to A.U. HQ in Addis Ababa four in Darfur providing assistance to the A.U. battalions which employ the 105 armoured vehicles we provided and two in Khartoun to provide liaison with the government. Col. Patterson noted that the Grizzlies were used primarily to defend A.U. bases and refugee camps and in this limited role were essential to the maintenance of morale in the AU force. Vehicle operation and maintenance training supervised by a single reservist warrant officer is crucial to this activity. A very small addition to the technical staff of Op. Augural would have a significant impact on the mission but individuals with these skill sets are in short supply and Darfur is a low priority. If Canada could find the resources to provide further logistical, medical and air transport capacity it would have a measurable effect upon AU operations building confidence for the future. Not a very ambitious program but one we could do well.
Three other CF operations currently carried out in co-operation with DFAIT and CIDA should be noted. Operation “Safari”, the Canadian component of the UN Mission in Sudan includes 25 CF members serving as military observers and six in headquarters posts throughout southern Sudan. They operate under Security Council Resolution 1590 “to support implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of January 2005.” Sustaining and reinforcing this challenging mission might well be considered a worthy foreign policy objective.
Operation “Sculpture” is the code name of Canada’s contribution to the British-led International Military Advisory Training Team in Sierra Leone. There are currently just 11 Canadian military personnel in Sierra Leone, close to an adequate number for the task of assisting British soldiers in the task of training the Sierra Leone armed forces. The situation in Sierra Leone and adjacent states will be the subject of a fall conference here in Waterloo so for the moment we should simply note that even the smallest investments made at the right time pay great dividends. Lastly there is Operation “Crocodile” Canada’s modest nine person contribution to MONUC, the United Nations Mission in the Congo. Maintaining and possibly expanding this mission is under consideration.
The title we used for this evenings presentations is Afghanistan and After --------- not after Afghanistan so I should close by stressing I do not think withdrawal from ISAF is likely or desirable in the next four to ten years but a modification of the Canadian role is inevitable. The quest of the land forces to transform the three brigade groups into fully staffed units which do not have to cannibalize each other when posted overseas will continue and resources will be found to provide logistical and administrative support for other UN or NATO led missions. Increasing emphasis will be placed on “homeland security” and especially the north.
If possible we should seek to avoid partisan political debate and instead offer support to those men and women acting on our behalf in Afghanistan and elsewhere. They must function in a complex, frequently dangerous environment with imperfect information and uncertain international leadership. We should try and help them to do the small things that Canada can do as well as possible.
Nicklan





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PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if it was possable to free up 4 to 5 billion in the defence budget that could be invested in other areas and the Canadian Government as well as the military would actually have more capacity by having services needed provided by a contractor instead of investing the money dirrectly themselfs. Is this a good dirrection for Canada I think being able to invest another 4 or 5 billion right now is a good Idea. What do you all think ?
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would I support an additional 4 or 5 billion in funding for DND? Definately, provided it was spent on recruiting, wages, and equipment procurement. I definately wouldn't support cutting 4 or 5 billion out of their current budget - they need every penny they have. What exactly are you suggesting?
Nicklan





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PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 11:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF_Canuck wrote:
Would I support an additional 4 or 5 billion in funding for DND? Definately, provided it was spent on recruiting, wages, and equipment procurement. I definately wouldn't support cutting 4 or 5 billion out of their current budget - they need every penny they have. What exactly are you suggesting?


I am suggesting that the 4 to 5 billion to be spent on building and servicing the Ice Breakers and C-17 could be spent in other areas if these tranport equipments where supplied under wet charters to the government. A Canadian private contractor can supply these aircraft and ships much cheaper over all cost, and do more with them. not only will they be able to meet the governments needs but also Canadian industries needs. All that is needed are charter agreements. That would mean that the funding that is already there could be redirrected and Canada would receive a better less expensive service from a tax paying company instead of a government department !
The contractor would buy and operate the Heavy Lift aircraft from Boeing and Build and operate Ice Breakers from a Canadian Shipyard!
FF_Canuck





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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 12:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm generally not a fan of leasing military equipment if it's to be used 'in theatre'. The whole reason we're buying our own C-17s is that leasing/renting strategic lift wasn't working out - too many conditions on their use, and generally unavailable on short notice or when we needed them. I think we'd have the same problem if they were leased from industry. We'd either need a 'comandeer' clause that would make the option very unattractive to buisiness, or have to wait until the contractors ceased operations.

In addition, there'd be a bunch of issues with training the contractor staff for deployment (not only pilots, but all staff needed for repair and maintenance of the aircraft), pre-employment screening, ...etc.

As for the ice breakers, it really depends on how the CF intends them be used. If they only break ice, then it might work. If they are combined with other functions, like troop transport, patrol, carriers ... etc, then they must be owned and operated by the military.

As for the issue of where the ships are built, I couldn't care less. The first priority of defense spending should quality, then quantity and price. If a Canadian shipyard will build them at the highest possible quality for the lowest possible cost, than that's where they should get built ... if another country's shipyards can do it better and cheaper, build them there.
Nicklan





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PostPosted: Thu Jun 07, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

FF_Canuck wrote:
I'm generally not a fan of leasing military equipment if it's to be used 'in theatre'. The whole reason we're buying our own C-17s is that leasing/renting strategic lift wasn't working out - too many conditions on their use, and generally unavailable on short notice or when we needed them. I think we'd have the same problem if they were leased from industry. We'd either need a 'comandeer' clause that would make the option very unattractive to buisiness, or have to wait until the contractors ceased operations.

In addition, there'd be a bunch of issues with training the contractor staff for deployment (not only pilots, but all staff needed for repair and maintenance of the aircraft), pre-employment screening, ...etc.

As for the ice breakers, it really depends on how the CF intends them be used. If they only break ice, then it might work. If they are combined with other functions, like troop transport, patrol, carriers ... etc, then they must be owned and operated by the military.

As for the issue of where the ships are built, I couldn't care less. The first priority of defense spending should quality, then quantity and price. If a Canadian shipyard will build them at the highest possible quality for the lowest possible cost, than that's where they should get built ... if another country's shipyards can do it better and cheaper, build them there.


These are air freighters we are talking about that are used for carring men and equipment up to 75 ton pay loads. A wet Charter is everything but the fuel and would garrentee first service on demand to the Charterer (Canada) like the heavy lift roro vessels used by the American Military. The same charter could be used for icebreaking in the high north!The government has only stated icebreakers, during the summer the current vessels can carry out patrols and aircraft can be used from the icebreakers during winter months agian wet charter with accomadations supplied to Canadian Government personal.
Few can better Canadian quality many can easily build cheaper then the current shipyards we have. We need new modern yards for New Construction we realy don't have any that spealize in New Construction and have modern state of the art automated production and assembliy capabilities needed to be a competiter in the ship building industry. Over the past 35 years the world has passed by this once world leader in shipbuilding !
It sounds like you think we should import the personal also?
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Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy: After Afghanistan

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