Budget 2005 represents the most significant investment in the military in the last 20 years. It provides Defence with nearly $13 billion dollars in new funding over 5 years, outlining a long-term commitment to expand, fix and transform the Canadian Forces. Budget 2005 provides:
**A $3 billion commitment over the next five years to support the expansion of the Canadian Forces by 5,000 regular force and 3,000 reserve force personnel;
**$3.2 billion to address sustainability, including $420 million immediately in the first year to:
--increase operating budgets for improved training and operational readiness;
--enhance military medical care; and
--address critical supplies and repairs shortages, and to repair infrastructure
**Substantial capital investments, more than $2.5 billion in total, to acquire key equipment and capabilities including:
--new medium capacity helicopters;
--utility aircraft to be employed in the Arctic; and
--specialized facilities for JTF2, Canada's elite anti-terrorist unit.
**A commitment of $3.8 billion in further investments pending the outcome of the defence policy review.
STRENGTHENING NATIONAL DEFENCE TO MEET NEW COMMITMENTS
In recent years, Canada’s military has provided much-needed security and humanitarian assistance in a number of difficult situations, including:
--Leading Canada’s military efforts in the war on terrorism as well as in re-establishing peace and security in Afghanistan and Haiti.
--Providing vital engineering, medical and basic life support and relief to tsunami victims in Sri Lanka.
--Assisting Canadians in emergencies and natural disasters, such as Hurricane Juan’s impact on the East Coast and forest fires in British Columbia.
Canadian Forces Contributions to International Security
International missions have placed considerable demands on the Forces’ resources and personnel in the last three years. Operation Apollo, Canada’s contribution to the international coalition against terrorism, ran from October 2001 to October 2003 and involved significant contributions from all service branches. Fifteen Canadian naval vessels were deployed to the Arabian Sea over the course of Operation Apollo. At its peak, the Canadian Naval Task Group consisted of six warships and 1,500 Navy personnel. Canadian ground forces took part in security, combat and reconnaissance operations in Afghanistan—in particular during the six-month deployment of Canada’s Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. Throughout the mission, Canada’s air force provided strategic airlift, long-range patrol and reconnaissance, and tactical air support to coalition forces.
Operation Apollo overlapped with Operation Athena, Canada’s current NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Kabul. Athena commenced in August 2003, with the deployment of 900 Canadian Forces members. Operation Athena has been one of the most expensive international missions ever undertaken by Canada’s military, with incremental costs approaching $900 million. These operations were funded in previous budgets, including Budget 2004, when the Government provided the Department of National Defence an additional $250 million for missions in Afghanistan. Budget 2004 also provided $50 million to support Canada’s short-term mission to Haiti, called Operation Halo. That mission involved roughly 500 Canadian Forces personnel and six Griffon helicopters, deployed to Haiti to assist the UN-sanctioned multinational force tasked with bringing stability to that country.
As demonstrated by its recent experiences, Canada’s military has a proud tradition and history of responding to international and domestic crises. By answering this call, it has ensured safety, stability and security in times of international political unrest or unpredictable natural disasters. In such situations the Forces reinforce Canadian values with action wherever it is needed in the world. However, the recent chapters in this proud history have involved the Forces in activities that were not envisaged when Canada’s current defence policy was reviewed in 1994. As the world changes, the role of the military continues to change with it. Canada’s defence policy is adapting to fulfill its evolving responsibilities.
Recent support for the Canadian Forces
Funding provided in the last several budgets is helping the Forces adapt to these challenges. Budget 2001 provided funding to augment the capacity of Joint Task Force 2, the military’s elite anti-terrorist unit, as well as additional capital funding to deal with short-term capital issues. Other measures in Budget 2001 enhanced the Forces’ capacity to respond to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear threats and emergencies.
Budget 2003 increased the Forces’ annual funding levels by $800 million, a measure that assisted the Forces in dealing with its longer-term sustainability issues. Increased funding allowed the Canadian Forces to move ahead with its multi-year capital program by initiating the acquisition of 28 maritime helicopters, 800 new Mercedes G-wagons (to replace the aging fleet of Iltis vehicles), tactical unmanned aerial vehicles and counter bombardment radars and 66 Mobile Gun Systems. In the last year, the Government began the process of replacing the navy’s replenishment ships, which will improve the Forces’ capacity to sealift personnel and equipment en route to international missions, as well as to support naval task forces at sea.
A number of recent policy initiatives will contribute to defining Canada’s defence policy for the future. One is the new National Security Policy (NSP), released in April 2004. Another is the forthcoming International Policy Statement outlining the key objectives for Canada’s future defence and security policies and recommending how Canada’s defence policy should be adjusted or reformulated.
Some aspects are already clear: Canada’s military requires more personnel. The expanding demands of international operations in the new millennium have illustrated that vividly.
Other pressures have also emerged affecting the capacity of the Forces to provide specialized health services to its personnel as they return from these demanding missions, and to deal with the consequences of extended tours of duty away from Canada. Similarly, the process of training and maintaining operational readiness among personnel not engaged in missions has been under stress because of the high tempo of operations. Supplies of spare parts and military equipment have been depleted, and repairs, overhauls and upgrading of equipment have been delayed or missed to support the high operational demands. Similarly, the Forces’ infrastructure has become run-down.
Capital pressures and gaps have also become apparent. Canada’s military lacks medium capacity helicopters that are capable of moving teams of personnel and their equipment around in-theatre, whether dealing with international crises or domestic emergencies. The Forces are relying on an aging fleet of logistics trucks, and need to replace the utility aircraft that are employed in the Arctic. Finally, Canada’s elite anti-terrorist troops, Joint Task Force Two (JTF2), have expanded to the limit of the capacity of their current facility in Ottawa.
In the Speech from the Throne, the Government said it would increase Canada’s regular forces and its reserves—a $3 billion commitment over the next five years. Budget 2005 does that and more. It provides Canada’s military with $7 billion in new budgetary funding over the next five years, which will support $12.8 billion in additional expenditures by the Forces in that period.
This funding will allow National Defence to address the following issues that were described earlier:
--To expand the Canadian Forces by 5,000 troops and the reserves by 3,000, as announced in the Speech from the Throne.
--To increase operating budgets for improved training and operational readiness, to enhance military medical care, to address critical supplies and repairs shortages, and to repair infrastructure.
--To acquire new medium capacity helicopters, logistics trucks, utility aircraft and specialized facilities for JTF2, potentially more than $2.5 billion worth of capital in total.
The $12.8-billion increase over five years in defence funding is the largest such increase in the last 20 years. It will cover the full costs of the activities described above, including the additional annual personnel and operating and maintenance costs associated with any capital that is acquired. In the budgetary funding estimates shown in the summary table at the end of this chapter, the actual cost of the capital is spread over its life, and the annual budgetary amounts include only a fraction of the full capital cost. However, DND will have to pay the full costs of the capital in cash in the years that it is acquired. The Government will make that cash available to DND as it is needed.
The timing and size of DND’s cash requirement will depend on how the military allocates its new funding to its various needs, and in particular on the timing and nature of the specific projects it initiates. Some projects are known—the helicopters, trucks, airplanes and new facilities referred to above; but their timing remains to be determined. Other projects, and their timing, will depend on how DND determines its response to the new priorities that the Government will establish for the Forces following the International Policy Statement and defence policy review.