Senate report questions generals’ rosy view
For better or worse, the Canadian Forces have developed pride in their ability to make do with less, to keep aging equipment functioning through all conditions, even if it requires a Red Green-like addiction to duct tape.

The penchant of senior officers to paint a picture rosier than evidence suggests, however, has drawn the ire of pundits. Some of that was vented in a report released by the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence in August.

In Four Generals and an Admiral: The View from the Top, the committee expressed concerns about the positive depiction of funding and personnel issues provided by generals Walt Natynczyk, CDS, Michel Gauthier, Commander CEFCOM, Andrew Leslie, Commander Land Force and Angus Watt, Commander Air Force and Vice-Admiral Drew Robertson, Commander Navy.

Though the report is based primarily on hearings conducted over two days in June, its conclusions are founded on years of such interviews and presentations.

That the CF is short-staffed is no secret, but the report raises questions about the lack of NCOs, the very people needed to train the next generation, and of project management specialists needed to steer platform acquisition. It also notes the need for more experienced operational leadership and specialized trades, and the problems created by a transformation process that has drawn large numbers of experienced people into headquarters roles.

More stridently, it questions the sufficiency of 1.5 and 2 percent funding increases over the next decades, suggesting the CF could see a decrease rather than stability – as touted in the Canada First Defence Strategy – once inflation is factored in.

The report was one of two issued prior to the election. In Bringing Our Wounded Home Safely, the committee praises the care soldiers receive in the immediate aftermath of injury but raises concerns about long-term care. DND, it says, must either “reach arrangement with all provinces to guarantee state-of-the-art treatment for wounded military…or offer such treatment itself.”

Both reports are available at

Government benchmarks to track Afghan progress
In June 2006, BGen David Fraser, then commander of RC South in Afghanistan, described a complex model by which he gauged whether his task force commanders and reconstruction teams were achieving their intended effects in the region.

His diagram for measuring progress in governance, employment, the local economy, health care and social services, freedom of movement and security resembled an intricate network of concentric circles – almost a spider’s web.

Measuring success in Afghanistan hasn’t gotten any easier.

In August, the government released a series of 21 benchmarks to gauge progress in the six priorities and three signature projects it is implementing with the Afghan government between now and 2011. Just as important, the metrics are intended to improve accountability and transparency at home.

The benchmarks range from numerical targets – creating 10,000 seasonal jobs as a result of the Dahla Dam project, for example – to qualitative measures such as public perception, and actual implementation of policies and programs.

The government intends to share its progress with Parliament on a quarterly basis. But as it notes, “progress may not always be evident or measurable.” BGen Fraser would surely concur. Even with his complex model, he had to constantly “listen and adjust.” For the benchmarks, see

Canadians re-deploy with KFOR
Five Canadian Forces personnel have deployed to Kosovo as part of the NATO-led Kosovo Force to work as defence planners at KFOR Headquarters.

The twelve-month commitment is intended to assist with the management and streamlining of funds and equipment received from donor countries as Kosovo stands up new institutions following the adoption of a new constitution in June. Kosovo declared independence on February 17.

KFOR is NATO’s second largest mission. Under Operations Quadrant and Kinetic, Canada deployed several thousand personnel to the mission in 1999.

Ron Hoffmann was appointment Canada’s Ambassador to Afghanistan in September. A seasoned senior diplomat, he was the deputy head of mission in Kabul. Hoffmann becomes the fourth head of mission since dimplomatic relations were re-established with Afghanistan. He succeeds Arif Lalani, who will join the Munk Centre for International Studies at the University of Toronto. Hoffman previous served in The Hague, Johannesburg, Beijing and London, as Minister in the Political Affairs and Public Diplomacy Section. From 2001 to 2002, he served as senior departmental assistant to former foreign affairs ministers John Manley and Bill Graham.

In other diplomatic news, Glenn V. Davidson, a career naval officer who previously served as Canadian military representative to the NATO Military Committee in Brussels, has become Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic. Philip Baker, head of aid and country program director in Maputo, Mozambique, was named High Commissioner to the Republic of Mozambique. Joseph Caron, former ambassador to China and, most recently, Japan, was appointed High Commissioner to the Republic of India, with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal and the Kingdom of Bhutan. Abina M. Dann, ambassador to Ukraine, became Consul General to Federative Republic of Brazil. Ferry de Kerckhove, director general of the International Organizations Bureau, was named Ambassador to the Arab Republic of Egypt. Louis de Lorimier, ambassador to Lebanon, was appointed Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium. Geneviève des Rivières, ambassador to Peru and Bolivia, became Ambassador to the Republic of Colombia. Randolph Mank, director general of the Asia South and Pacific Bureau, became High Commissioner to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Leeann McKechnie, director of policy and planning, Secretariat for the Americas Strategy, became Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala and High Commissioner to Belize. And Barbara Richardson, High Commissioner to Bangladesh, became Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Angola, and High Commissioner to the Republic of Botswana.

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