Ottawa to Accelerate Arms Purchase for Canadian Troops in Europe

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Justin Tang The Canadian Press Minister Anand announced her decision during a speech in Ottawa before the Institute of the Conference of Defense Associations.

National Defense Minister Anita Anand promised Thursday that Ottawa will accelerate the purchase of anti-tank, anti-aircraft and anti-drone weapons to support Canadian soldiers in Europe, as Ottawa moves to close several glaring gaps in Canadian military capabilities.

Ms. Anand presented the plan to senior military officers, foreign delegates, industry representatives and academics Thursday at a major defense conference, where panelists discussed the state and future of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Presentations included a stark assessment of the military personnel crisis by the Senior Human Resources Officer. Major-General Lise Bourgon revealed that the Canadian Armed Forces were short by 16,000 troops — far more than previously reported. “These are real and serious risks to mission success. And that’s where we are today. »

Canada’s ailing military supply system also figured prominently at the conference, as Ms. Anand announced that the government was turning to a mechanism that had not been used from Afghanistan to deliver the new power of fire at Canadian soldiers in Latvia.

The Minister gave the opening address of the meeting of the Institute of the Conference of Defense Associations, saluting the defense of Ukraine against the Russian invasion for a year, while praising the many investments that the Liberal government had made in the Canadian military.×280&×280%2C0x0%2C740x280&nras=3&correlator=142339235977&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=420706562.1678417320&ga_sid=1678417320&ga_hid=1525604753&ga_fc=0&u_tz=-300&u_his=1&u_h=800&u_w=1280&u_ah=770&u_aw=1280&u_cd=24&u_sd=1&dmc=4&adx=82&ady=1781&biw=1263&bih=667&scr_x=0&scr_y=0&eid=44759876%2C44759927%2C44777876%2C44759842%2C42531705%2C31072507&oid=2&pvsid=2380174815087517&tmod=1747894545&uas=3&nvt=1&!5&btvi=2&fsb=1&xpc=LrcHTLHJdL&p=https%3A//

These include new F-35 fighter jets, a fleet of new ships and the modernization of North America’s defensive systems. “But we know there are several crucial capabilities we need to move forward faster,” she added.

“Canada’s largest foreign military deployment, as you are no doubt aware, is on NATO’s eastern flank in Latvia. And our troops there must have the equipment they need to protect themselves and do their jobs, especially at this crucial time. »

Canada has deployed about 700 soldiers to Latvia, leading a NATO battlegroup designed to help defend Eastern Europe against Russian attacks. However, the battle group is about to expand and Canada has promised to provide some new weapons. These include anti-tank, anti-aircraft and anti-drone systems, which the Canadian army currently lacks.

An exceptional procedure

While the Canadian Forces armies would almost certainly have had to face a long wait under normal procurement, Minister Anand announced that the government was declaring these weapons an “urgent operational requirement” in order to get them to Latvia more quickly.

While the Minister was plugging these holes in the arsenal, Major-General Bourgon pointed to the 16,000 positions to be filled in the regular and reserve forces. And that deficit is set to get worse: Ms. Bourgon told attendees that the military was failing to meet its recruiting targets of around 25%, while “the attrition rate is higher than it should be.” ever was”.×90&×280%2C0x0%2C740x280%2C740x280&nras=4&correlator=142339235977&frm=20&pv=1&ga_vid=420706562.1678417320&ga_sid=1678417320&ga_hid=1525604753&ga_fc=0&u_tz=-300&u_his=1&u_h=800&u_w=1280&u_ah=770&u_aw=1280&u_cd=24&u_sd=1&dmc=4&adx=82&ady=2831&biw=1263&bih=667&scr_x=0&scr_y=600&eid=44759876%2C44759927%2C44777876%2C44759842%2C42531705%2C31072507&oid=2&pvsid=2380174815087517&tmod=1747894545&uas=3&nvt=1&!6&btvi=3&fsb=1&xpc=DEcJ4Sgu5P&p=https%3A//

To address the problem, the military launched a new advertising campaign aimed at attracting Canadians to recruiting centres. The military also recently opened its doors to permanent residents.

Russia and personnel shortages weren’t the only threats to Thursday’s conference: Minister Anand described China as ” an increasingly disruptive power,” while also highlighting Canada’s growing reliance on its military in times of natural disaster.

It is in this context that Ms. Anand has launched public consultations to advise the government as it reviews its defense policy, published in 2017, with the aim of guiding investment in the military over the next 20 years. years.

“It is extremely important that we get it right, which is why we have engaged stakeholders across Canada, as well as our allies and partners, to inform the way forward,” Ms. Anand said.

The review will focus on five critical areas, including how to address the shortage of military personnel, modernize its Arctic defenses and determine exactly what equipment and capabilities are needed for modern conflict.

The Minister did not say whether the costs will figure into the government’s thinking as critical military procurement projects continue to face delays and cost overruns.

Liberals also face new pressures on costs in various non-military files, while voices rise for more budgetary rigor in Ottawa, after years of deficits, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wendy Gilmour, Secretary Deputy General for Defense Investments at NATO, told the Ottawa conference on Thursday that in the face of growing geopolitical instability, allies will come under even greater pressure in the coming years to re nforce their armies.

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