Retired Lt-General Leslie speaks against military spending
Andrew Leslie was a General in the Canadian Forces who recently retired and who also penned a report commissioned by the Feds right before he left. He was one of the top dogs – purportedly in the running for the top position – Chief of Defence Staff. In a news story on CBC News ((Ex-top army commander sounds the alarm on defence spending)), Leslie says that there has been an increase of $475,000,000 on administrative matters in the Canadian military such as consultants and contractors.
The kicker is that the military budget has been cut by 22%. That budget is used to equip and train soldiers, regular force and reservists alike. What happens when budgets are cut? Would people assume less training, less equipment, less readiness, less competence, less ability to close and destroy the enemy in the event of a war?
The Public Accounts show that spending for Professional and Special Services at National Defence went from $2.7 billion in 2009-2010 to $3.2 billion in 2011-2012.
Andrew Leslie was a respected career soldier during his time serving Canada. He’s quoted as saying..
This has a direct impact on our troops. It’s going to result in lower levels of readiness, it’s going to mean our troops are not as well trained … It’s going to have an impact on part-time reserves, the lifeblood of the army. So I can’t watch from the sidelines.
Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson said that consulting includes a “very broad range of activity including medical and mental health services,” even “maintenance and repairs”.Vice-Admiral Donaldson also said that it’s much more economical to turn certain contracts over to the private sector.
I’d be willing to bet that a lot of civilians and soldiers alike in Canada are asking themselves “why can’t the military use it’s own qualified mechanics and skilled personnel” for repairs, upgrades etc. Lots of people might also argue that allowing the skilled personnel within the military to fix things themselves might prove cheaper because soldiers get paid the same rate regardless of what they’re ordered to do.
One thing is quite clear (from the comments in the news story) – lots of people seem to think that military is top heavy, and a big portion of the military’s officers at NDHQ should be fired, and the money that is spent on them should go directly towards troop training. I, of course, have no opinion on the subject.
“Cut hundreds of higher ranking officers from National Defence Headquarters and spend that money on the troops who would be forced to put their lives on the line… or keep the higher ranking officers in NDHQ in place, and repair their cushy leather chairs and mahogany boardroom tables” seems to be the question many Canadians are asking themselves.
I will not state an opinion on what I’d do out of these two choices, and I definitely will not state an opinion on whether I think the federal government is destroying the Canadian Forces by slashing budgets for frontline troops and increasing budgets for office personnel. But I would ask – what do others think?