Tag Archives: Budget

Mark Collins – World Defence Spending 2015/2016

A tweet–US$, Canada steady at no. 15 (what do we buy–only part of defence spending–for it?):

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds


Mark Collins – Winter 2016/17 Edition of CDA Institute’s “ON TRACK” Magazine

Contents via a message from the CDAI:

Ottawa, 1 December 2016 – The CDA Institute is pleased to release the latest issue of ON TRACK which features thoughtful and informative articles by experts from Canada and abroad on security and defence issues.

See full issue at:



  • “Editorial – Canada is Back – The Defence Budget Must Grow…Significantly” by Tony Battista and Dr. David McDonough

  • “Defending Canada in the 2020s?” by Vice-Admiral Drew Robertson (Ret’d)

  • “Vérité, Devoir, Vaillance : Le CMR Saint-Jean retrouve son statut universitaire” par Oksana Drozdova

  • “Les stratégies arméniennes pour garder le contrôle du Haut-Karabakh” par Michael Lambert

  • “Paranoid or Pragmatic? What Pakistan’s policy in Afghanistan can tell us about international rivalry” by John Mitton

  • “L’hiver Yéménite” par Alexandra Dufour

  • “Chemical Weapons use in Syria and Iraq: implications” by Dr. Jez Littlewood

  • “2016 Vimy Award – Acceptance Speech by recipient Dr. James Boutilier”

  • “Evaluating China as a Great Power: The Paradox of the ‘Responsible Power’ Narrative” by Adam MacDonald

  • “Supporting an Informed Public Debate: Seven Important Facts to Know about Military Requirements Planning” by Colonel Chuck Davies (Ret’d)

  • “Australia and Canada – different boats for different folks” by Dr. Andrew Davies and Christopher Cowan

  • “Space and the Third Offset in the post-post-Cold War period – Lessons for Canada and Australia” by Dr. Malcolm Davis…

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Trump’s Victory: Trump’s Implications for Canada: Defence, NAFTA, Keystone XL, Climate Change

Four tweets:

1) Defence:


3) Keystone XL:

4) Climate change:

Lots on the bilateral plate for our government and prime minister–and then there’s always softwood lumber, eh?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – RCMP’s Anti-Terrorism Fight Giving Mob Increasingly Free Pass

Further to this 2015 post before the federal election,

Policing Terrorism in Canada: Feds Don’t Match Mouth With Money

the Liberal government is now not stepping up to its job properly to fund core federal responsibilities:

Terrorism investigations tax RCMP’s ability to fight Canada’s organized crime
Colin Freeze [very good Globe and Mail reporter]

The number of RCMP wiretaps on organized-crime groups is plummeting sharply as the force shifts its detectives to the fight against terrorism, according to statistics analyzed by The Globe and Mail.

In its federal policing role, the RCMP essentially has two major business lines – chasing mobsters and chasing terrorists. The priority the Mounties give to each of the two files has always been an issue, but the balance clearly shifted after the attack on Parliament Hill two years ago.

The RCMP has moved hundreds of officers from organized-crime probes to terrorism investigations in a bid to track suspected sympathizers of the Islamic State. This may come at a cost to other important RCMP missions, such as stopping human trafficking, getting guns off the street and curbing trade in illicit drugs such as fentanyl.

– Related: Guilty pleas end risk of revealing RCMP surveillance technology

– Related: Surveillance device used in prison sets off police probe

– Related: RCMP fight to keep lid on high-tech investigation tool

A spokeswoman for the police force does not dispute that a significant shift has taken place.

“The decrease in RCMP wiretap applications for serious and organized-crime investigations in the past year can partially be attributed to the shifting of a number of federal-policing resources to national-security criminal investigations,” Corporal Annie Delisle said in an e-mailed response to Globe questions.

…the focus of police investigations is clearly shifting.

In 2011, police sought wiretaps in hopes of laying charges for 82 Criminal Code offences that explicitly had to do with organized-crime. Only six such charges were contemplated in 2015.

Half of all wiretap applications still involve drug cases, yet the number of drug charges being pursued has plummeted.

In 2011, federal police were seeking wiretap warrants involving only three terrorism charges. In 2014, police were hoping to lay 97 terrorism charges. In 2015, that number was 68.

The Public Safety Canada electronic surveillance report is preliminary and the 2015 numbers may increase because police do not have to disclose data about all their investigations right away [the report is here]. Not every wiretap warrant of leads to an arrest or criminal charge…

Follow Colin Freeze on Twitter: @colinfreeze

Must be a whole lot nicer to be an organized gangster these days in the Great White North.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Fall 2016 Issue of CGAI’s “The Dispatch”

The table of contents:

Message from the Editor

Brexit, the Anglosphere and Canada 

The Obama Moment—Defence Spending Does Matter, eh!

Are Canada’s Digital Security Policies Being Decided in Washington?

Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy: Time for a Reset! 

Time for Canada to Shine in Space Diplomacy

For Today’s Peacekeeping, Prepare for War

NATO and Canada’s National Interests

Reviewing the Summer of the Defence Review

The Inevitable End of the Turkish-Western Alliance

New Canadian Government Talking the Talk on Climate Change

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Defence Budget One Percent GDP: What Balance Between Canadian Armed Services?

A retired Army colonel regretfully assesses that the regular Army is too large–an excerpt from a very cogent piece at the “CDA Institute Blog: The Forum”:

Core Challenge for the Defence Policy Review: Creating the Right Balance

…Does Canada, with no credible conventional land threat and no legacy colonial responsibilities, but very substantial maritime and air approaches to police and defend, have the proportions right?..

It very much pains this proud former Canadian Army officer to conclude that this country very probably does not have the right balance. The Canadian Armed Forces have only a few “no-fail’ missions. Disaster response at home and, in a supporting role, domestic security are two of them but these will rarely require significant numbers of well-equipped and highly trained combat-capable forces. They need flexible, well-organized and disciplined troops in adequate numbers, and the means to get them to where they are needed quickly. Two missions that do need well-equipped combat-capable forces are protection of our maritime (surface and sub-surface) and air approaches, and it is a national imperative that we do these tasks well enough to hold the confidence of both ourselves and our US continental defence partners [note: defending our maritime approaches does not necessarily require the same  type of naval vessels as for blue water expeditionary operations–nor need they be built in Canada at extravagant cost other than for political reasons] .

Most other Canadian military capabilities have to be considered optional, or at least scalable to the level of national ambition. In the context of a pretty clear multi-party political consensus on limiting defence spending to about 1 percent of GDP, this means that appetites for maintaining and employing military forces also have to be limited and governments have to pay close attention to priorities. Capabilities needed to do the nation’s “no-fail” missions must be adequately resourced first. What’s left is what’s available to resource expeditionary capabilities for tasks like international peace operations…

Colonel Charles Davies (Ret’d) is a CDA Institute Research Fellow and a former Logistics officer who served for four years as the strategic planning director for the Material Group of the Department of National Defence and three years as the senior director responsible for material acquisition and support policy in the department…

As for air and maritime threats:

NORAD to Face Escorted Cruise Missile-Carrying Russian Bombers?

USN “Admiral Warns: Russian Subs Waging Cold War-Style ‘Battle of the Atlantic’”–and RCN?
[note “Comments”–and those subs can also carry cruise missiles, more here]

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – New RCAF Fighter: Debate on F-35 vs Rest, esp. Super Hornet

Further to this post and “Comments”,

New RCAF Fighter: Consult, Consult, Consult (with industry)–Why Not Just Compete?

the start of two interesting posts by two different people at Milnet.ca, at two sometimes heated topic threads (many service members post at the site):


I’m going to be blunt. The problem isnt that this is an echo chamber…. that would be such a trivial thing if it was. Rather the problem is that the viewpoints expressed by several members here, are not more widely known in the public. the problem is that we have an electorate that frankly do not have the slightest understanding of this issue, and a political class that understands almost as little.

And this is the incisive part. You claim there is another side. I know for a fact that the arguments you put forward here are for the most part wrong. The vast vast vast majority of the reason why we’re here today is not because the F-35 is deficient in capability, cost, or industrial benefits. Actually, for not a single one of those categories can any of the other options claim they are better than the F-35. That was known clearly as far back as 2010, and despite every effort to prove otherwise, it remains true today. And that’s widely known within the bureaucracy, and now within the government.

Rather the reason why we’re here is because on a constant basis we have had two political parties, who despite in possession of the facts of the program, fail to possess political will, or understanding of this issue to actually get things done…


I am not going to jump into this F-35 vs the rest debate.

However, surely we can all agree on one thing: All five aircraft on offer would provide the RCAF with an upgrade on its current fighter force. We can at least take solace in the fact that no matter what aircraft is chosen, it will be an upgrade.

There are other issues which I am more interesting in hearing answers to, but they tend to get lost amongst the noise of “F-35 is awesome because…..” and “F-35 sucks because….” ad nauseum.

1. Purchase cost is a small part of the overall price tag – what about operating costs? Surely that is a far more important figure in the big picture.

2. AAR [air-to-air refueling] – What would the cost be to get new tankers to support the new fighter if the new fighter requires a different system than our current mix of Airbus/Herc? Surely that calculation must be added into the mix? They are not unrelated [see also: “New RCAF Tanker Aircraft Depends on New Fighter Type Selection (when?)“].

3. Are our northern FOLs [forward operating locations–scroll down here to “Royal Canadian Air Force”] compatible with the new fighters? What is the cost to upgrade these sites, including runway extensions if required? Again, that is not an unrelated cost – it must be factored into the decision.

4. What industrial offsets will the five companies offer? LM has been very vocal about the ‘potential’ economic benefits of buying their offering, but as far as I know they are not guaranteeing any industrial offsets – only the opportunity to bid for contracts. (and I am certain someone on here will swiftly correct me if this is incorrect) The other four would no doubt have to offer guaranteed industrial offsets to counter the greater potential value of the LM programme. It will be interesting to see what they offer, and what Canadian companies become involved…

Do jump into both threads.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Canadian Defence Policy Review: CGAI Contributions

Below are essays submitted by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute as contributions to the government’s Defence Policy Review (the public process ends July 31–more here on the review):

2016 Policy Review Series


Click on “Defence Collection” for a complete pdf, click essay titles for individual pdfs, and click ‘bio’ for additional author information and photo.

Foreword and Introduction
by David Bercuson (bio)

Defence Policy Review Considerations: Canada’s Army
by Stuart Beare (bio)

Future Roles for the RCN
by Serge Bertrand (bio)

The RCAF and the Role of Airpower: Considering Canada’s Future Contributions
by Alan Stephenson (bio)

Canada’s Special Forces
by D. Michael Day (bio)

Reserve Options
by George Petrolekas (bio)

Fixing Procurement
by David Perry (bio)

Canada and Cyber
by John Adams (bio)

Making Canada’s Role in NATO More Effective
by Julian Lindley-French (bio)

Canada’s Space Policy and its Future with NORAD
by Andrew B. Godefroy (bio)

Realistic Peacekeeping Options for Canada
by Sarah Jane Meharg (bio)

Real and False Tradeoffs in the Defence Review: Size Versus Readiness, Not Hard Versus Soft
by Stephen M. Saideman (bio)

Canada’s Security Role in Asia-Pacific
by Marius Grinius (bio)

Collaboration Amidst Complexity: Enhancing Jointness in Canada’s Defence Instrument
by Doug Demptser (bio)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Experts’ Submissions to Canadian Defence Policy Review (note Prof. Saideman)

At the official website:

Read submissions from Canadian defence, security and other experts who participated in a Defence Policy Review roundtable. Learn more about these issues and see how your views compare to these opinions and recommendations…

Note this one June 27 by Canadian Global Affairs Institute Fellow Prof. Steve Saideman, with focuses on NATO, readiness, personnel costs and the size of the Forces (maybe need to be slimmed), and the strengths and weaknesses of the services (already “specialized”). His cogent conclusions:

I do think that the best decision would be for Canada to spend more on its military, but I recognize that this is probably a non-starter. Whatever increases will probably not catch up to inflation. I also recognize that Canada will continue to spend more and get less due to the insistence on buying Canadian built equipment even when better/less expensive kit is available [see, e.g.: “The Extravagant Lunacy of Building RCN and Canadian Coast Guard Vessels in Canada“]. Given these trends, the CAF is in for hard times ahead (although calling a new decade of darkness is a bit much)–expected to keep up the pace of operations while avoiding hard decisions about priorities. Perhaps the Defence Review will lead to some difficult decisions actually being confronted.

One suspects that final sentence may be a tad optimistic. Still…

More here on the review. Plus an excerpt on defence policy from a post of mine in February 2013:

…The [Conservative] government has said it will announce a redo of the CFDS [never happened] some time after the budget…But if each service tries to go on being as all-singing and all-dancing as possible each is likely to end up not performing all that well. The government needs to make some some very difficult choices to focus the services, and abandon some capabilities so as to be able to afford and maintain others. That means the government must decide what types of missions/roles each service must be able to perform (as opposed to “nice to have”) and how much it is willing to pay for the personnel and equipment so that those missions/roles can be carried out effectively and efficiently [e.g. should the RCN focus again on ASW in the North Atlantic with the new Canadian Surface Combatants? Are our four subs very useful for this purpose?]. But I doubt this government is capable of–or our services willing to–engage in such a serious review…

Now up to the Liberals.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Should RCN Subs Lives be Extended to 2030s?

Further to these posts last year,

RCN Subs Life-Extension to 2030s? Why?

RCN Subs Life-Extension to 2030s? Why? Part 2

readers should be able to anticipate how I think the government ought to respond to this, especially given the heavy costs involved:

Government will have to decide whether to invest into submarines or cut ships adrift: Navy commander

Government will have to decide whether to invest into submarines or cut ships adrift: Navy commander
HMCS Windsor, one of Canada’s four Victoria-class submarines [RCN webpage here], heads out the harbour in Halifax on Thursday, May 26, 2016. One of Canada’s submarines has [now] set off for Norway [again] in its second attempt at the transatlantic crossing after being forced to turn around due to a mechanical problem [more here]…

On the other hand the following might suggest a serious reason to keep our subs going–if it can be demonstrated they would have any serious role vs the submarine threat from the Bear; remember only two of ours are stationed on the east coast and having both at sea at any one time would be pretty unlikely:

USN “Admiral Warns: Russian Subs Waging Cold War-Style ‘Battle of the Atlantic’”–and RCN?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds