Friendly fire


Rick Hillier, whose “decade of darkness” quip is a favourite reference of the Harper government, says the Conservatives will “destroy” the Canadian military if they go ahead with cuts they are reportedly considering.

“You try to implement that report as it is and you destroy the Canadian military,” Hillier told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday. “You simply can’t take that many people out of command and control functions…

“There are some areas where you can do some cuts and the Canadian Forces will have to pay a price, but to implement that report would not be wise,” Hillier said in the interview. “If you take a billion dollars out, you will lessen military operational capability.”


Friendly fire

  1. This kind of free-lancing explains why former General Hillier’s career came to an abrupt end.

    • He may be wrong (and probably is – the dispute arising largely because General Leslie has targeted some of the organizational changes brought in by General Hillier – and no one likes to be second-guessed) but surely he is, as a private citizen, entitled to his opinion?  Why should this be considred “free-lancing”?  And his carreer didn’t “come to an abrupt end”, he retired after a long and successful career.

      • He was free-lancing when he was in charge…which is why his career came to an abrupt end.

        No matter how you dress it up.

        • Being a hugely popular Chief of Defence Staff is “an abrupt end” to a military career? Geeze, what does success look like?

          • Yup, hugely popular, men in the field, war still going on, and he suddenly ‘retires’…to work in Newfoundland.

            Boot marks still visible on his rump.

          • Hillier was CDS for more than 3 years – the standard term. That Harper didn’t want him to stay beyond the normal term, is no surprise, but that is different than getting the boot.

            Now General Boyle – who was forced to resign during the Somalia Affair – is an example of getting the boot.

          • @R.Mowat
            There is no hard and fast rule on term lengths…and the middle of a war is no time to get picky anyway.

            Dress it up anyway you want, but….boot!

  2. Why is this surprising? He is a retired General attempting to mitigate any cuts to the Armed Forces. If he did anything other then this is would be shocking.
    Sometimes I really hope you are only pretending to be a thick as you seem Wherry, otherwise I feel terrible for all the mocking I did at your expense. You are a special person!

    • Wasn’t the guy who wrote the report a serving General in the forces?  Isn’t he now a retired general who presumably still advocates for the things he advocated for when he was a serving General?

      It’s true that it would be absolutely shocking if Rick Hillier did anything other than this, but that’s because he’s RICK HILLIER, not because he’s a retired General.  If a serving General was capable of writing this report then I fail to see why a retired General would be incapable of agreeing with it, and I’m sure there are some who do.

      • Yes, General Leslie was in charge of the army before being asked to lead a task force on transformation (he has been rumoured to be in the running for Commissioner of the RCMP when he retires shortly from the forces).  There was some tension, it seems between him and General Hillier and some of the changes he has proposed undo some of the organizational changes introduced by Hillier, some of which have been criticized as involving too complex a structure for a force as small as Canada’s – such as the proliferation of new “Commands” such as CEFCOM.  These arguments are a perpetual matter in the forces, between those who see the organization as a force that is designed for growth in emergencies – needing a structure that can accomodate that growth, and those who want it structured for today’s limited resources.
        Still, it seems hard to believe a 5% cut, almost all of which would affect bureaucracy and not fighting forces, would have the negative effects suggested by General Hillier.

  3. There are 124 general & flag officers in teh Candian Forces for a total of 68000 active and 27000 reserve personnel.  That’s 1 general for every 766 soldiers & officers of lower ranks.  In contrast, the US military has 658 general & flag officers for a force of 1.48 million active and 1.46 million reserve personnel, or 1 general for 4468 soldiers.  This suggests a top-heavy Canadian command structure.  I’d like to hear General Hillier explain how headquarters and command staff can’t be reduced to a ratio comparable to the U.S. without compromising effectiveness. 

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