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One of Canada’s top soldiers blasts onerous military oversight

Outgoing vice chief of defence staff Guy Thibault urges more political direction


 
Lieutenant-General Guy Thibault takes part in meritorious Service medal and Bravery Awards for Canadian Armed Forces members during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General, in Ottawa, Friday June 26, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

Lieutenant-General Guy Thibault takes part in meritorious Service medal and Bravery Awards for Canadian Armed Forces members during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, the official residence of the Governor General, in Ottawa, Friday June 26, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

OTTAWA – One of Canada’s top soldiers used his last speech in uniform today to blast what he suggests is an unfair amount of oversight and scrutiny over the Defence Department and Canadian military.

Trust in National Defence’s ability to manage its $20-billion budget, as well as various major procurement projects, has sunk in some corners of Ottawa following a number of controversies.

Those include the F-35 stealth fighter project, the shipbuilding program and the previous Conservative government’s repeated insistence on what former prime minister Stephen Harper called more teeth and less tail.

But Lt.-Gen. Guy Thibault, the outgoing vice chief of defence staff, is blasting the resulting amount of oversight that has built up, which includes outside parties and panels looking over the military’s work to make sure it’s done right.

Thibault said the fact the military has continued to accomplish its missions while remaining within its budget is proof of its ability to manage its own affairs.

He appeared to take shot at the military’s political masters when he said what the Canadian Forces really need is clear direction and predictable, sustained funding, not more oversight.


 

One of Canada’s top soldiers blasts onerous military oversight

  1. Ditch the gung-ho. Move to peace-keeping.

  2. It’s proof of nothing except that a massive overhaul is needed. A 50% cut in flag officers would be a good start. Perhaps with fewer cooks they’d get a decent soup.

    Just for the record a few (and by means not all) of the highlights of the military since 9/11:

    * Convinced the PM that Kandahar would be “robust peace support” in 2005. After taking on the entire province and then wasting $ 2 billion on development it cut and ran.
    * They bought and leased tanks with AC and with a different voltage system than the CF uses.
    * Spent $ 1 billion on closing down Kandahar and then paid to have sea-cans full of rocks shipped to Canada. It abandoned millions of dollars of equipment it paid to have packed away.
    * It told the GOC that the CH-47Fs it wanted were “off the shelf”. They weren’t and came in far over budget and late.
    * Tried to bum rush the Tories into buying F-35s and when that failed said the CF-18s could last a lot longer- well until Super Hornet production stopped. Now the story has changed again.
    * The CDS, who’s declared himself “the” expert, says looking for people so you can kill them isn’t combat.
    * The army has allowed the reserves to drop by 30%.
    * The army is paying > $ 3000 each from the factory for 6500 hunting rifles that retail for < $1000. It's been trying for at least five years to get a new pistol but can't. Its budget for upgraded C6 machine guns is 9x retail.
    *DND underestimated the cost of moving JTF-2 to Trenton by $ 900 million.
    * The army said it was short of cash for training and then spent millions on name changes for Areas and rank badges. It had to change the general badges twice after failing to notice that a Brigadier in the British system isn't a general.
    * The National Shipbuilding Program is perhaps the biggest boondoggle in our history and it's barely started. Ten years in and they don't even have a CSC design.

  3. “what the Canadian Forces really need is clear direction and predictable, sustained funding”

    The last thing the CF wants is clear direction. It would prefer to be allowed to do what it fancies. It might get the pols to sign off on it’s pet projects but it wants to make the list.

    I’m surprised he didn’t mention the mythical 2% of GNP NATO spending goal. How about sustained lower funding? That would be best for the country and the tax payer. Say $ 2 billion less for the first two years and a billion less for the next two and then keep it steady holding to changes in the GNP.

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