Canada Kicks Ass
Experts call for an overhaul of Canada's national security


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Scape @ Wed Sep 22, 2021 7:56 pm

Better to have allies and not need them then to need allies and not have them.

We need to invest in our pacts and alliances like a good friendship. No one is expecting us to OVER extend but when the Baltics are showing us up and they are a fraction our size people start talking about when the chips are down who can they depend on.

Back in the 50's and 60's we had a CAN DO attitude. Can you say that today?


Thanos @ Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:18 pm

The Baltics also have the Russians at their door so their need to spend is multiple times more justified than Canada's. They also concentrate their resources on frontier defense and surveillance of Russian activities, as they obviously should, instead of building up a force that can go good-guy crusading ten thousand miles away from.

This is what I'm saying - the Canadian forces need to be rebuilt strictly along the lines of homeland defense, disaster relief, and humanitarian assistance. Overseas power-projection is beyond our resources and capabilities. And the capabilities we do have should not used ever again for more delusional quixotic humanitarian "interventions", like Afghanistan where we lost 150 good people from our forces for absolutely nothing. These sorts of wide-eyed urges among our politicians need to be stamped down permanently. And being in an alliance shouldn't be an obligation to lose lives pointlessly in order to satisfy the political and financial schemes of some think-tank assholes in Washington DC.


Scape @ Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:52 pm

I'm not sayin we need to be able in invade China but we need to be a CREDIBLE deterrent to their reckless expansion. Not just on our wet boarders but on our allies turf as well. *coff* Taiwan* *coff*.

Subs that we can rely upon would be a good start. We don't need to have them to keep the wolves at bay but to get to areas we need to be up north if we expect to maintain our claims.

Do we need a huge standing army? I would say no. We should look to the Swedes on what sort of standing army we have, something that we can specialize in and excel at. Niche is something we can do to augment our allies and still bring something of merit while our larger allies bring the numbers. This still requires far more of a commitment then what we have on the board now or are projected to have in the next generation. We need to spool up our capacity and they will require sacrifices.

Pay it now or pay much more later, your choice.


Thanos @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:25 am

I don't disagree for the most part. But no one should hold their breath waiting for the government to do anything. Not even if the Conservatives get power again in the future. The spending from COVID will be seen (politically) as a justification to engage in cutbacks and austerity. That, right off the bat, means no more gravy for the military in the form of updated equipment or engaging in specialization.

I'd also hesitate in following the US lead on China. 20 years ago they cast Saddam Hussein as the next Hitler, and look how that turned out. Doing the same thing with China, when at the same time the US government has done absolutely nothing to pull back on America's economic ties with the Chinese, is fairly ridiculous. When the US and the allies actually sanction China I'll take this "our next enemy" crap seriously. Until then it's business as usual. Just ask Disney, or the American financial elite who got hideously wealthy by sending millions of jobs to China, about how much they believe the Chinese are filling the role of Bad Guy in some supposedly inevitable new Cold War.


CDN_PATRIOT @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:01 am

Defence spending needs to tripled. Period.

Scape is 100% correct through all of this. We don't necessarily have to go looking for war, but we need to be prepared and arm up enough to not have to cry to others for assistance if and when it happens. We also need to be able to defend our own sovereignty without question.

No more excuses, no more blaming other events as if they somehow have a bearing on any of this, just get 'er done and rebuild the forces, and PROPERLY. Anyone in this country that thinks national defence isn't important needs to take a step back.



bootlegga @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:27 am

Thanos Thanos:
(1) we're becoming quasi-isolationist
(2) that isn't a bad thing
(3) we need to be a lot more like Germany, Japan, and Scandinavia, and a lot less like the US & UK
(4) we don't have the strength to get involved in direct conflicts, as shown by our military being degraded so badly by our assignments in Afghanistan
(5) we don't have the money to build the kind of military that can get involved in direct conflicts
(6) it's long overdue for us to withdraw from participation in things where our involvement is either wasted or ineffective
(7) double-down on the soft-power type of things like humanitarian assistance and disaster relief in some of the less media-photogenic hellholes across this miserable planet, the ones where what we can do will actually help make things better
(8) I'm really fucking sick and tired of the cheap nationalism that only sees rushing off to conflict with all our flags a-waving as the sole valuable contribution; not participating in the new US/UK/Australian alliance isn't a slap across the face or an embarrassment, it's a reflection of reality because we don't have (and never will have either) the kind of strength to participate to any valuable degree

Enough is enough with the urges to engage in conflict. Didn't anyone learn anything at all over the last twenty fucking years? Quit thinking it's like some World War Two propaganda film with the "brave boys and their magnificent equipment" rushing off to glory. And don't be so quick to want to see Canadian personnel shoved into another overseas meat grinder, especially if none of us are going to do to some murderous shithole ourselves.

Bury the myths and the "we gotta do something!" panic-mongering. This crap is at least three decades overdue to finally go away and not come back. :evil:

I can agree with a fair bit of that, but Japan recently signalled that if China invades Taiwan, they will come to Taiwan's defence. They've also recently double-downed on the Quad, the US, India, Japan, Australia security agreement. You also said we shouldn't be operating in "overseas meat grinders" to fight US wars. So I don't think Japan is a good example of your position.

And I'd argue that we are very much like Germany, a formerly strong and effective nation, trumpeting the past instead of investing for the future.

I would have no problem being like Scandinavia, because they all take their own defence and sovereignty very seriously and invest in foreign affairs and their militaries. Norway and especially Sweden are great examples of the role Canada should take going forward IMHO.

Thanos Thanos:
That's a false canard. The US isn't going to abandon the concept of total continental security for North America and dissolve NORAD just because they're allegedly pissed off at Canada for not being able to participate in something on the other side of the planet. It was false when Bart kept saying the same things and it remains false today.

Any rebuilding of our military, should such a thing happen, should concentrate ONLY on continental security. That means better fighter jets, better long range patrol aircraft for the arctic regions, more icebreakers, new submarines, and the adoption of drone surveillance aircraft. No new tanks, no helicopters that are meant for "air cavalry" purposes, no cargo planes with global range, no more artillery, and infantry trained for domestic defense (and disaster relief) only. This delusion of being able to cast Canadian power across the breadth of the planet has to be dropped altogether. It costs far too much and we can't contribute to it to any significant degree to make it worthwhile.

Again, mostly agreed - buy a bunch of 212 AIP subs, add more AOPVs (building 6 for the navy nd 2 for the coast guard right now), buy a couple dozen C-295 Maritime Patrol Aircraft (commonality with the Kingfishers, our new SAR plane), and instead of buying 15 destroyer-sized frigates, we should buy a couple dozen smaller FREMM frigates, which cost about $800 million USD, instead of the $3 billion Type 26 we're planning to build. FYI, the US, along with France and Italy, is adopting this design.

If Canada wants to play a role in "humanitarian assistance and disaster relief", we'll need more long range strategic airlift, not less. While I'm not a fan of helicopter carriers for the RCN, they also play a huge role in disaster relief, as evidenced by the USN's role in the 2004 tsunami, the RCN role after Hurricane Katrina, etc. Without those assets, we have to rely on leased planes and ships at time when everyone wants to rent them for the same role.

Thanos Thanos:
You have to acknowledge the costs of all this though. I'm hardly a proponent of austerity but the price of most modern military equipment is beyond our resources, even moreso when we have a clique inside of DOD Procurement that goes out of their way to triple the cost of the most basic items in order to have it meet the specifications of "Canadian kit". We're the country where multiple PM's in a row have promised new ships at a set price only to find later on that the cost will be anywhere from quintuple to quadruple what they said it would be. And that the capabilities of the vessels will be about half of what was promised because the grossly overestimated their range or the armaments they were designed for either became obsolete or the US supplier made them prohibitively expensive. Or that the ships were so crappily built that we get an embarrassment of having them with a permanent list to one side because the engineers screwed up so badly and didn't bother to ensure that both sides of the ships were more-or-less evenly balanced in weight.

What's been done to the military over the last fifty years is so endemic and built into the bones of the command structure that it would almost be preferable to collapse the forces altogether and just send the Americans $20 or $30 billion per year to take over the entire defense system for us. Putting more public dollars into an entity that is entirely resistant to oversight or reform is insanity when the restructuring needed to put a permanent stop to the endless boondoggles will never occur.

The problem is military contracts provide massive amounts of political pork to shovel out to voters, and that is the case whether it's a Liberal or Conservative government.

We could have had AORs in the water already if we ordered them from South Korea like New Zealand - and they would have cost about HALF as much! We could have a much larger and effective navy if we were willing to go with ships like the FREMM, but our admirals want to hang with the big boys and only want the biggest, shiniest, most expensive toys. We could afford far more Gripens then we can F-35s or Super Hornets, but we won't go that way because our air force generals will go to the press and say the government is trying to get our pilots killed by giving them 'inferior' equipment. Again, they want the biggest bad boy on the block and won't settle for more modest capabilities, but with a lot more airframes.

If we want to get the biggest bang for our bucks, we should be leveraging every opportunity to build them overseas/elsewhere to take advantage of economies of scale.

But you and I know that won't ever happen.


bootlegga @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 10:46 am

Defence spending needs to tripled. Period.

Scape is 100% correct through all of this. We don't necessarily have to go looking for war, but we need to be prepared and arm up enough to not have to cry to others for assistance if and when it happens. We also need to be able to defend our own sovereignty without question.

No more excuses, no more blaming other events as if they somehow have a bearing on any of this, just get 'er done and rebuild the forces, and PROPERLY. Anyone in this country that thinks national defence isn't important needs to take a step back.


I agree we need to at least double our defence spending, but the problem is that vast majority of Canadians are much more interested in tax cuts (conservative voters) or social programs and daycare (left wing voters). Hell, a significant chunk of NDP voters want to abolish the CAF altogether!

Harper had a chance to re-invest in the CF, and while he bought some nice planes and promised a lot, he also let the Navy rust out and actually spent less than Chretien did for most of his time in office (based on per capita spending). Then he clawed back a couple billion from DND and Veteran's Affairs right before the 2015 election so he could have the appearance of a surplus. That's why I had ZERO faith that O'Toole (Veteran's Affairs Minster at the time of the claw back) was ever going to spend 2% on DND, although I'm sure he would have increased it modestly.

The sad fact is that this is nothing new really.

Canada (and Canadians) have had no serious interest in defending itself prior to World War I, World War II, or anytime after 1965. It's only after a war starts that most are willing to make the sacrifices necessary (more taxes and fewer services) necessary to protect the country and keep the armed forces equipped.


Zipperfish @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 11:22 am

From my point of view, if you're a small player, you rely on alliances. Like NATO, which is (was?) a pretty good one but we can't even hold up our measly bit on that one and contribute 2% GDP to defence.

Completely agree with Thanos on overseas adventures and interventions. Just read a great article (i'll post it) on how British abolitionists liberals in the 18th and 19th century made it all much worse in Africa.

I'm just saying let's contribute our two bits to NATO, let's reinvigorate our military--for defence purposes--for 21st century warfare-and that definitely isn't aircraft carriers and may not even be nuclear subs.

God, Look at Haiti. You just want to help right? Well last time we tried to help, the fucking aid agencies were bending over every kid in sight. or Iraq, when the US "saved" Iraq from Saddam so they could waterboard and beat the poor fuckers silly at Abu Ghraib.

Personally next time Biden or any US president starts talking about going down that road, somebody oughtta stick a ham sandwich in it.


Zipperfish @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 12:05 pm

How liberals made the British Empire
The certainties of today's activists echo those of former colonialists

A long read but a good one. A more sangfroid analysis of British interventions in Africa.


herbie @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 4:51 pm

We're not at all like Germany. Aren't and never were an Imperial power, annoyed Britain for 100 more years until it left of it's own volition, only fought when we we had no choice.
Nice to dream and chat all Tim Allen ooh-ooh nuclear subs, project power - but that isn't Canada. FFS if we ever get one of those subs we should man it and give it to Australia where there's a reason, a mission and a tangible threat.
As for mercy missions, rescues and small deployments we keep calling Joe's Air Cargo and they can pay the day to day maintenance on their Antonovs and Galaxys.


Thanos @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:19 pm

We're not Germany but we should be like modern post-war Germany. Keep the boys at home to make sure the fence is protected, and not go overseas to places like Afghanistan ever again. This is what we can and should do. It's not photo-op glamourous but it also doesn't exhaust our resources to the point of collapse.


Scape @ Thu Sep 23, 2021 5:53 pm

^^ This.


CDN_PATRIOT @ Fri Sep 24, 2021 4:10 am

Thanos Thanos:
We're not Germany but we should be like modern post-war Germany. Keep the boys at home to make sure the fence is protected, and not go overseas to places like Afghanistan ever again. This is what we can and should do. It's not photo-op glamourous but it also doesn't exhaust our resources to the point of collapse.

Hard to argue with that.



Zipperfish @ Fri Sep 24, 2021 9:10 am

I worked for NATO. Don't have much good to say about it. Absolutley Kafkaesque bureaucracy.


Sunnyways @ Fri Sep 24, 2021 11:30 am

As others have pointed out, our military procurement process is a disaster and must be better protected from political interference. Whatever else about him, Stephen Harper was a capable guy who had big plans for the military when he took office but putting Royal onto Canadian Air Force ended up as one of his big achievements on that file:

...the failure to learn from history ended up dooming Harper’s vision for national defence. The embrace of an expansive and bold vision for defence without a comparable willingness to defy the broad historical reluctance of Canadians to spend on defence in peacetime meant that there would always be a yawning gap between dreams and reality. Without a keen appreciation of the deeply dysfunctional nature of the defence procurement system in Canada — and a plan to fix that system — the Harper government was sure to run into the same snags that have always bedevilled defence policy in Canada.

It would appear that one of the basic problems is us:

Politically, of all the promises Justin Trudeau made, the broken commitments on the defence file will probably cost him the least. Unless one works for a defence contractor, most people do not vote based on defence spending. The Conservatives can try to argue that they are more serious about national defence, but their lousy record of procurement is recent enough that they probably do not want to focus on it. The New Democratic Party will never try to outflank the Liberal Party to its right. So, the political consequences are probably minimal.

At the very least, our armed forces deserve the right equipment for the tasks required, irrespective of who is in office. In many areas we haven’t even been able to manage that, e.g. helicopters, submarines.



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