Staff to be rebalanced at National Defence, Nicholson tells media briefing -

Staff to be rebalanced at National Defence, Nicholson tells media briefing


OTTAWA – As many as 4,800 military and civilian staff at the Department of National Defence could find themselves doing other work, training for new positions or perhaps even out of a job over the next four or five years.

It’s part of a so-called defence renewal strategy unveiled Monday by the Harper government.

The plan could save as much as $1.2 billion a year by 2017-18, but the savings will be plowed back into the department to maintain readiness, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson told a media briefing.

“The intent here is not to reduce the number of regular force, reserve force or civilian employees,” Nicholson said.

Rather, the goal is to rebalance the workforce and move administrative staff towards non-administrative positions at military bases across the country.

But while the plan is not meant to reduce the number of staff, senior defence officials at a technical background briefing said there could be some “individual” job losses among those who can’t retrain or move.

Those officials also took pains to emphasize that the new plan is separate from the budget-cutting exercises of strategic review and the deficit reduction action plan, both of which saw the department eliminate jobs.

Those two activities combined are expected to chop $2.1 billion a year out of the $19-billion defence appropriation by the time all of the measures are fully implemented in 2014.

Changes under the new renewal strategy will be carried out “humanely,” but will “maximize the use if attrition, alternation and retraining wherever possible.”

Background documents also say there will be “fewer managers” and that approximately half of the department’s current bosses “manage too few people.”

Officials would not say how many jobs at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa could be declared redundant, but background documents suggest up to 1,034 staff might be affected.

The renewal document is seen as an answer to a benchmark report two years ago by retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie, who recommended slashing the bloated Ottawa-based headquarters structure that was assembled during the mission in Afghanistan.

The plan leans heavily on technology, noting that more flight training will be done in simulators and the military will use a more efficient maintenance system.

Done right, officials said, the renewal program should give the navy more sea days, the air force more flight time and the army more training days in the field.

Buried deep in the documents is a reference to divesting the department of some of its property — something former defence minister Peter MacKay alluded to last spring.

Defence experts, including retired general Rick Hillier, have said the government will not be able to meet its budget targets at National Defence without reducing the size of the regular force from its current level of about 68,000 members.

One of the big Conservative election promises in 2006 was to grow the size of the military to 75,000, a figure that was later scaled back to 70,000 and finally 68,000.


Staff to be rebalanced at National Defence, Nicholson tells media briefing

  1. “But while the plan is not meant to reduce the number of staff”

    If the number of staff isn’t reduced and all can expect annual pay raises how will “The plan could save as much as $1.2 billion [or nothing] a year by 2017-18?

    Smoke and mirrors like every other defence plan to save money by cutting waste or finding “efficiency”.

    • fred, quite acting like you know anything about the military.

      You don’t.

  2. I’ve worked at NDHQ. My buddies and I observed a phenomenon we dubbed the
    “Three O’clock Fire Drill”. The number of people who GTFO of those towers at 3 pm far,
    far exceed those who arrived at or before 7 am.

    Here’s an experiment you can try for yourself: Go to NDHQ from 6-8 am and count the number of people, both civvies and military personnel entering the building. Go again from 2-5 pm, again count. You’ll find that not a lot of public servants are putting in 7.5+ hours a day, and that while a few military folks work 9+ hours a day, many work less than 6.

    There’s a disproportionate, uneven distribution of labour going on.

    • hmm thats very interesting. not enough work to go around…

  3. On top of $2 billion for CCVs the army doesn’t want. $1.5 billion in accounting errors. About $1 billion annually it can’t spend. Whatever the AOPs eventually costs, 15 CH-47Fs it won’t need.

    It appears that DND could be cut another couple billion dollars annually without any negative effects on actual “defence” and probably an improvement.

    • fred, you don’t know anything about the CF.
      Quit posting.

      The Chinooks are more useful than the Griffons.

  4. There will be two general groups of people this plan effects in NDHQ. Group 1-generally more senior- will try to turn this into a windfall- large severance plus pension perhaps in some cases after a few years on fully paid stress leave from the trauma of the changes with some sort of disability payout. Group 2 will try to prevent change and string out reorganization (don’t you love the Newspeak term”rebalancing”) until it’s forgotten about and they can graduate to join Group 1.

    The gov’t had no real choice but to announce this plan. Leslie joined the Liberals and if attempts to fix DND weren’t made it could be used against them. Now they have a “plan” which conveniently doesn’t have to show anything until after the 2015 election.

    • There are two groups of people.

      Those that know about the military.
      And you.