View Full Version : Timeout for fatigued army

19 Jan 04,, 01:37
Timeout for fatigued army

Ottawa set to scale back deployments, play minor role in missile shield: Pratt

By The Canadian Press

Edmonton - Canada's agreement to open talks on joining the United States' missile defence program probably won't lead to much involvement by the Canadian Forces, says Defence Minister David Pratt.

During a visit Friday to Edmonton Garrison, Pratt said Canadian troops are tired after a series of missions in recent years into Afghanistan, the Balkans and providing support in the Persian Gulf.

"There comes a point where you have to say for the sake of your troops that we're going to take a rest for a while," Pratt said.

"Like many of our allies, we do not have limitless capability. We do not have limitless depth, not just in the army but in the navy and the air force as well."

When the current one-year commitment to Afghanistan ends, Canada will either pull out completely or scale back its presence there "significantly," Pratt said.

"We want to ensure that the family unit within the Canadian Forces remains as stable as it can possibly be," he said. "We don't want to burn out our people." Even though Canada has agreed to discuss joining the U.S. in building a missile defence shield against attacks by so-called rogue nations, the early signs are that Canadian involvement will be small, Pratt said.

There may be a stepped-up presence of Canadians at Norad, the North American Aerospace Defence Command. But Pratt acknowledged he won't know more until the talks move ahead.

Pratt said the government takes seriously its responsibilities for defending North America. It will decide whether to join the missile shield "based on Canadian interests, the protection of Canadians in general and the people and property of Canada."

Canada can yet back out if the talks don't go well, he said, "but obviously we have to understand that there may be some costs associated with that."

Canada remains against using weapons in space and the Americans understand that, he said, adding that the defence shield is not the start of another arms race.

"We're not going to see thousands and thousands of missiles deployed as we did during the 1970s. I just don't think it's going to happen."

He also said Canada probably wouldn't have to spend much on the defence shield. "The Americans have made it clear that they're rolling out this missile defence system in October and that they're going to be doing it without Canadian money and without Canadian territory."


Officer of Engineers
19 Jan 04,, 17:22
Be warned that this will be the USArmy situation. The US is now way overcommitted and no way to withdraw from those committements.

Only 500 troops available by September: report

CTV.ca News Staff

The Canadian army is stretched so far that only 500 troops will be available for deployment by September, according to The Globe and Mail.

Senior commanders have told the new defence minister, David Pratt, that the final straw was the deployment of Canadian troops to Afghanistan, according to Globe columnist John Ibbitson.

There are about 2,000 Canadian troops participating in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul. Their job is to provide stability and security for Afghanistan's civilian government.

That deployment led to delays in training and rotations home. To catch up, over the next few months 8,800 troops will be sent home or to training.

As well, there are 600 peacekeeping troops in the Balkans, 200 in the Middle East and several more in troubled African nations, such as the Congo and Sierra Leone.

That leaves just 500 troops out of the 11,900 soldiers in the army's field force for new commitments. And it will be that way for about a year starting on Sept. 1, Pratt was told.

Dealing with the dwindling resources in military personnel and equipment will be a big test for Prime Minister Paul Martin. He has already promised to replace the aged Sea King helicopters and there is another deal in the works to replace Iltis jeeps in Kabul ahead of schedule.

But it will take years to replace all the obsolete equipment, and that's why a recent report is warning that new money won't stop the Canadian military from suffering for the next few years.

The report from Queen's University, in collaboration with the Ottawa-based Conference of Defence Associations, called for an immediate increase of $18.5 billion to the military budget. Currently, it is $13 billion.

It said that without that money, the Canadian air force and either its army or navy would disappear within 10 years.

19 Jan 04,, 17:30
Be warned that this will be the USArmy situation. The US is now way overcommitted and no way to withdraw from those committements.

As percentage of the military, yes that may happen, but there is no way we would have only 500 troops to deploy.

Officer of Engineers
19 Jan 04,, 18:48
I believe you missed my point. My point is that the USArmy would follow the Canadian lead and will have to come home and stay home for a very long time.

Witness that there is no mood to start a war in Korea right now. That is just one indication of husbanding resources.

The 500 troops represents the bare minimum the Canadians are obligated to keep ready according to the North Atlantic Treaty obligations. The US will have to follow suit within 10 years, keep the bare minimun according to treaty and not effectiveness.