Archive for the ‘General information’ Category

CANADIAN SPECIAL FORCES LOOKING FOR EXPERIENCED PERSONNEL

January 26, 2010

Defence Watch Analysis

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Keeping skilled personnel is always a challenge for most organizations, let alone a specialist unit such as the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU) based in Trenton.

As part of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM), CJIRU has the job of providing a national response to chemical, biological and radioactive threats, whether it be tracking down and dealing with a weapon of mass destruction or collecting and cataloging evidence that might be used in court to prosecute terrorists for creating or setting off such a device. It also conducts detection, sampling and identification of a full range of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear hazards as well as providing advice to senior commanders and government officials in that speciality area.

But CJIRU has been losing some of its skilled operators and was facing a situation where it would have lost even more trained personnel.

That’s because Canadian Forces personnel would leave their parent trade or military occupation while working for CJIRU. Eventually, however, the parent MOC would require the individuals to return. The result: CJIRU was home to operators who built up unique skills with the unit, only to see them leave at a later date.

The solution? Create a new occupation in the Canadian Forces; that of Chemical, Biological, Radiological Nuclear Operator. CBRN Operator is now its own trade as of January 1.

With the creation of the CBRN Operator occupation, individuals will be able to remain in this specialty trade for longer periods of time.

The issue of retaining skilled personnel had come up when I spent several days at CFB Suffield with the unit in 2007 (then it was called the Joint Nuclear Biological and Chemical Defence Company. Its name was officially changed to the CJIRU in September 2007)

The issue was only made worse as the unit tended to attract experienced military personnel. “We’re looking for people who come with operational experience,” company Sgt.-Maj. Mike Bezeau explained at the time. “We tend to look for people who have demonstrated an ability to think on their feet.”

Being in the unit is challenging and rewarding work for those who don’t mind spending time in a CBRN suit, according to CJIRU personnel.

One individual I interviewed was Desi, an armored crewman, who decided to volunteer for the unit because of the unusual nature of the work. The 36-year-old sergeant (last name withheld for security reasons) told me he was intrigued by the various forms of chemical and biological agents  (anthrax, smallpox and the plague as  examples) he handled. As they say, to each his own.

At this point the CBRN Operator trade is open only to serving members of the Canadian Forces through the occupational transfer process.

Filling the vacancies in this new trade will be a phased process with the initial priority for occupational transfer going to those CBRN operators who are currently serving with the unit, or those who have served with CJIRU within the past two years and hold current qualifications in a number of specialities, according to CANSOFCOM officers.

Those include at least one of the following four CBRN Operator specialties:

·      SIBCRA (Sampling and Identification of Chemical, Biological, Radiological Agents

·      Decontamination

·      Surveillance Operator and

·      Command Centre Operator

CANSOFCOM is looking to fill the first billets in March and April of this year. The command has noted that the deadline for applications is February 19.

The changes affect only the CBRN Operator billets and does not affect support roles at the unit such as medical technician, signal operator or electronic-optronic technician. That remains unchanged.

CANADA’S JTF2 SPECIAL FORCES REMOVE ‘JESUS’ GUNSIGHTS FROM WEAPONS: OTTAWA CITIZEN DAVID PUGLIESE

January 26, 2010

Gunsights with religious references to be yanked

Jan 22 2010

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Gunsights with biblical references inscribed on them are being used by Canadian special forces in Afghanistan, but the military plans to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Militaries around the world, including Canada’s, were caught off guard by the news that U.S. manufacturer Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., had put biblical citations on many gunsights in use by forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One type of Trijicon gunsight has raised markings saying simply JN8:12. That is a reference to the Book of John, Chapter 8, verse 12.

In the King James Version of the Bible, that citation reads: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ “

Another Trijicon sight has the inscription 2COR4:6, a reference to the passage from Corinthians Book 2, Chapter 4, verse 6: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Until recently, military leaders were unaware of the significance of the abbreviations.

But since their meaning has become known, Trijicon has been facing a growing backlash from the countries it has supplied with the sights. Military leaders have raised concerns that the inscriptions could provide propaganda ammunition for Islamic insurgents.

Maj. Doug MacNair, a spokesman for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said the organization has a limited number of the sights with the references. CANSOFCOM includes the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 special forces unit and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment from Petawawa. Both units are in Afghanistan.

For security reasons, Canada won’t release the number or type of Trijicon sights it has.

MacNair said: “Like our allies, we consider the biblical inscriptions to be inappropriate. We’ll move as quickly as possible to rectify the situation.”

CANSOFCOM technicians are looking at how to remove the inscriptions without damaging the sights. Those gunsights being used by special forces in the field would also be dealt with in some way, but CANSOFCOM has to ensure that, whatever solution is found, the soldiers continue to have access to the equipment.

“You do want to move as quickly as you can while not jeopardizing mission effectiveness,” MacNair said.

However, Trijicon announced Thursday it would provide modification kits at no cost to remove the Scripture citations from gunsights already in use. There are more than 300,000 Trijicon sights in use by U.S. forces.

One religious leader in the U.S. wrote President Barack Obama to complain that the sights violated a U.S. government rule against proselytizing.

“Images of American soldiers as Christian crusaders come to mind when they are carrying weaponry bearing such verses,” wrote Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance.

Other serving U.S. military members complained to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation about the gunsights.

“This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, said Thursday in Washington.

On Thursday, New Zealand’s military announced it, too, would remove the markings. It has also ordered Trijicon to remove such inscriptions from future orders.

Australia is considering a similar request.

Trijicon has been putting the scripture citations on its sights for years and company officials said they had never received any complaints. However, Tom Munson, the firm’s sales director, has acknowledged the company did not publicize the practice.

Ottawa Citizen

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

OIL SUPPLIES DWINDLING BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN

November 22, 2009

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

A new report on the market for defence-related fuels and power sources says that providing militaries around the world with various energy solutions is a growing and potentially lucrative market for industry.

 

The report, produced by the defence research outlet Vision Gain in the U.S., noted that worldwide spending on military energy needs in 2008 totaled $34 billion U.S. It’s study outlines how companies can take advantage of that market which is expected to grow in the future.

An example of that growth is the Canadian Air Force’s fuel situation. In 2008, the aviation petroleum, oils and lubricants budget of the Canadian Air Force was slightly more than the service’s entire budget. In 2009 it is expected to reach 24 per cent. By 2019 that percentage could rise to 40 or even 50 per cent as fuel prices continue to rise, according to the Air Force.

Not everyone, however, sees opportunity for companies like the Vision Gain report does.

In stark contrast, the National Farmers Union in Canada is now calling for an examination of Canada’s energy policy amid growing concern that dwindling oil supplies could cause security problems and instability in the  future.

 

The union has been monitoring the state of Canada’s energy infrastructure, oil and natural gas supplies and overall state of the world’s petroleum reserves.

“Clearly, our reliance on petroleum is suddenly emerging as an urgent issue,” says NFU energy security analyst Rick Munroe.

“Energy, food, climate, water, and our economy are interlinked, so miscalculations regarding energy supplies and prices will have dramatic effects on every aspect of Canadian society,” he added.

 

The NFU has written to the government of Canada, including its lead energy department, Natural Resources Canada, calling for a formal examination of energy security concerns. Natural Resources, however, has responded that Canada’s oil supply is secure.

 

Munroe, however, said Canadians depend on secure supplies of affordable energy to import and export food as well as process, package and refrigerate it and any shortage or volatility on global energy markets “will rapidly turn into shortage and instability in food markets.”

In evaluating future scenarios regarding energy supplies, the NFU has identified several worrisome trends, according to Munroe.

Among those are:

 

1. Oil-field discovery rates—volumes of new oil being found—have peaked and been declining for decades. The world is using oil much faster than it is discovering it.

 

2. Global oil consumption (apart from temporary recessionary dips) continues to increase, with present consumption at about one thousand barrels a second.  Ninety percent of cumulative global consumption has occurred during the past half-century.

 

3. Net energy (Energy Returned on Energy Invested/EROEI) rates for new oil discoveries are similarly declining.  Many of the oil sources being brought into production now— tar sands, deep-sea oil, etc.—require higher levels of energy inputs per unit of energy output than did oil sources of past decades.

 

4. Oilfield depletion rates continue to accelerate.  New fields are “playing out” faster and faster, compared to fields brought into production decades ago.

 

5. There is growing consensus that the “easy oil” is nearly gone.  Even the IEA admits this.  New oil will require significantly more energy and money to bring to market.  This means that oil prices must necessarily rise.

 

6. Global production of conventional oil appears to have already reached a plateau. Conventional production has stalled at around 74 million barrels per day since 2004 (this despite the incentive of high oil prices).

 

7. The number of countries with exportable surpluses of oil continues to decline, resulting in the growing number of net importers.  As global export capacity diminishes, so will security of supply.  We cannot all be importers.

 

8.  Industry veterans are retiring just as the oil and gas industry must contend with new challenges.  This “grey factor” may increase the difficulty of bringing new supplies on-stream.

 

9. Similarly, there is the “rust factor”: much of the existing oil & gas infrastructure is old and must be replaced.

 

10. There are still no viable alternatives to replace petroleum (especially when one considers energy density, the net energy of oil compared to proposed replacements, flow rates, infrastructure requirements, the convenience and flexibility of liquid fuels, etc).

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

MACKAY ANNOUNCES INFRASTRUCTURE CONTRACTS BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN JOURNALIST

March 29, 2009

 

 

The Ottawa Citizen

Saturday, March 14, 2009

 

By David Pugliese

Reporter, Ottawa Citizen

 

Defence Minister Peter MacKay launched a cross-country tour Friday to award infrastructure contracts on military bases in an effort to show the Harper government is helping put Canadians back to work during the recession.

 

Some of the projects are new while others have been under way or planned for some time. But defence insiders say the tour is designed to generate positive publicity in various regions for the Conservatives, as well as send the message the government is being decisive in pumping federal money into the economy.

 

In Victoria, MacKay announced $266 million worth of work, the bulk centred on the fourth phase of an ongoing modernization project for the navy’s fleet-maintenance facility. That project originally started in the early 1990s and has been unfolding over the years with the renovations of existing structures and the building of new ones.

 

Also included in the announcement is the construction of a hazardous-material facility. Work began last year on that project.

 

In addition, MacKay said a contract has been awarded to a Vancouver firm to design hangars and other facilities at Pat Bay, B.C., for the air force’s new Cyclone helicopters expected to arrive several years from now. The Defence Department’s contribution to road work near Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt was also included in Friday’s announcement.

 

On Sunday, MacKay will make an early-morning announcement at Canadian Forces Base Edmonton and then fly to Winnipeg that afternoon to unveil other infrastructure projects involving the air force’s 17 Wing.

 

The next day, MacKay will be at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, N.B., to announce yet more construction contacts.

 

“This is a first round of announcements,” MacKay said of his cross-country tour.

 

He noted that other contracts will be made public in the coming months.

 

MacKay said the contacts are “an important part of the government’s effort to stimulate the economy.”

 

He said the contracts announced at CFB Esquimalt will generate an estimated 1,400 direct employment opportunities over the course of the work.

 

Some defence analysts have pointed out that infrastructure improvements to military bases could be used to significantly stimulate regional economies. The Defence Department’s infrastructure holdings are immense, including about 21,000 buildings; 5,400 kilometres of road; and 3,000 kilometres of water, storm and sewer pipes. Much of that infrastructure is aging and needs to be replaced or upgraded.

 

Some Conservatives have privately complained that the government’s previous announcements of big-ticket defence procurements have not generated the political goodwill they had hoped for.

 

In the summer of 2006, then-defence minister Gordon O’Connor announced billions of dollars in new projects to purchase transport aircraft, helicopters, supply ships and trucks.

 

But defence analyst Allen Sens said the Canadian public expected that the Harper government would re-equip the Canadian Forces. “When they did do that people just shrugged,” said Sens, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia. “So the Conservatives were left standing around wondering where was all the music and confetti from Canadians on this.”

 

In January, the government was also criticized in the Commons and by the Canadian Auto Workers union after MacKay went to Quebec to announce a $274-million contract for new army trucks. But the selected firm, Navistar, is going to build the vehicles in Texas. At the same time, Navistar is laying off 700 Canadian workers at its Chatham, Ont., truck plant.

 

Navistar has said it would cost too much to retool its existing truck-assembly plant in Chatham to build the army trucks.

 

In addition, domestic aerospace firms have complained they have been frozen out of the defence equipment projects the Conservatives announced in the summer of 2006 or that such contracts have not created high-quality jobs in Canada.

 

The infrastructure projects being announced by MacKay are different, however, since they involve local companies and the results can be seen directly in the communities involved, Sens said.

 

“I’m not surprised that MacKay is hop-scotching across the country announcing infrastructure contracts,” he said. “It’s when you start spending locally that not only do you get constituency attention and support, but you get a bit of countrywide attention.”

 

SAILORS TO FACE COURT MARTIAL

February 1, 2009

 

 

 

Sailors accused of sabotage could face 10 years in jail, dismissal

 

The Ottawa Citizen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

 

By David Pugliese

 

 

Two sailors could face up to 10 years in jail and dismissal from the Canadian Forces if they are found guilty of sabotage in a case involving a classified computer database at Ottawa’s National Defence headquarters.

 

The rare charges were laid Tuesday by the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service in relation to what Defence Department officials allege is the corruption of the database.

 

If the charges do proceed to a court martial, it is likely that such a hearing won’t start until early in the new year.

 

A court martial is usually held at the location where the alleged incident took place, in this case Ottawa.

 

Petty Officer Second Class Sylvia Reid, now based in Victoria, B.C., and Petty Officer Second Class Janet Sinclair, a member of the Maritime Forces Pacific headquarters in Victoria, were each charged with one count of sabotage, one count of conspiracy, one count of mischief in relation to data and one count of willful property damage.

 

The two, who recently arrived in Victoria, are still on duty, but will be moved to less sensitive jobs in the Canadian Forces, according to military officials.

 

But the decision to allow the women to continue working has some questioning the severity of the incident.

 

“That raises the question about how serious can this be if you leave them still working,” said NDP defence critic Dawn Black. “Sabotage is a very serious charge, but it doesn’t appear to fit with the fact they haven’t been suspended, even suspended with pay.”

 

The alleged incident took place in July 2007, according to National Investigation Service spokeswoman Capt. Paule Poulin.

 

The military is declining to release any more details about the circumstances of the case or the motives surrounding the alleged incident.

 

Petty Officer Second Class Sinclair is a sonar operator, while Petty Officer Second Class Reid is a naval combat information systems operator.

 

The charges against the sailors have set into motion a series of legal procedures. It will now be up to the commanding officers of each sailor to decide whether to refer the case to the director of military prosecutions, an organization similar to a civilian Crown Attorney’s office.

 

“A commanding officer could review the file and decide the charge should not be proceeded with,” explained Maj. Marylene Trudel, who works for the director of military prosecutions.

 

However, if the National Investigation Service does not agree with a commanding officer’s findings, its investigators can still refer the charges further up the chain of command and ask that they be sent to military prosecutors.

 

Maj. Trudel, who emphasized she was not discussing any specific incident, noted that when a case is received by military prosecutors it is reviewed using the criteria of whether there is a reasonable chance of conviction and whether it is in the public interest to proceed with charges.

 

“Once we go through that criteria and we decide to lay charges, then we select the charges,” she said. “It could be the same charges that were laid initially. It can be some of the charges. It can be new charges or we can decide not to lay any charges.”

 

Ms. Black said the information released by the military is incomplete and could lead some people to believe there are serious security concerns when maybe that is not the case.

 

“I think the Department of National Defence and the minister should give Canadians some assurances about this case,” she said. “Two Canadian Forces members charged with sabotage; that raises many questions and yet neither the government nor the department have given us any understanding of what this means.”

 

An official with Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s office said the minister has no comment on the case.

 

Military officials declined to discuss what effect, if any, the alleged corruption of the database had on government operations. They would also not provide details on what computer system was involved, other than to say it was a government network.

 

 If you want information on books by David Pugliese check out his Web site , view his biography or his photo website. Go to:

 

 

http://members.shaw.ca/dpugliese/

 http://davidpugliesemilitaryphotos.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

FUTURE OF JTF2 BASE STILL TO BE DECIDED

December 31, 2008

 

 

FUTURE OF JTF2 BASE STILL TO BE DECIDED

 

 

By David Pugliese, Ottawa Citizen

 

Published: Tuesday, December 30, 2008

 

The Defence Department won’t start figuring out what to do with its Joint Task Force 2 commando base south of Ottawa for at least another year, says the head of the country’s special forces.

Col. Michael Day said an environmental assessment still has to be done for JTF2’s new home in Trenton, Ont. Once that is finished, along with the development of a more firm construction schedule for the new Trenton installation, then the department can start looking at the future of the facility near Ottawa known Dwyer Hill.

“I don’t think we’ll initiate the look for how we’re going to deal with Dwyer Hill until we have a better sense of the environmental assessment and the construction timeline,” Day said.

 

The department would likely turn its attention to determining the future of the Dwyer Hill Training Centre in another year to 18 months, he suggested. “I think it’s premature to look before then,” said Day, head of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.

JTF2, which expanded in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., has outgrown the Ottawa installation.

The federal government announced in September the unit would relocate to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario.

The process of dealing with the future of 80-hectare Dwyer Hill base will consist of two phases. One will be an examination of whether the Defence Department has a need for the counter-terrorism training facility.

Day said he doesn’t see the country’s special forces having a continued use for the base. “At the moment, I don’t predict an urgent need or an operational requirement to keep it . . . but again, we’re talking multiple years, so my situation may change,” he added.

Other organizations within the Defence Department could, however, indicate an interest in the base.

If the department doesn’t have a use for the facility it could then be offered to other government organizations. If no other department indicates an interest it could then be turned over to the Canada Lands Company, which handles the sale of federal properties.

Day said in a previous interview JTF2 could start moving out of its Dwyer Hill base as early as 2012 but the process could stretch on for several more years after that. Some elements of JTF2 could still be in Dwyer Hill as late as 2015, he suggested.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to the Ottawa Citizen and David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

If you want information on books by David Pugliese check out his Web site or view his biography. Go to:

 

http://members.shaw.ca/dpugliese/

 

 

http://members.shaw.ca/dpugliese/David_Pugliese_Biography/David%20Pugliese%20Biography.html

 

© Canwest News Service 2008

THREAT OF PROTEST SHUTS DEFENCE TRADE SHOW DOWN

December 28, 2008

 

 

 

Defence show cancelled over protests; Vigil participants say PCO edict scuttled event, not threat of civil disobedience

 

By David Pugliese

The Ottawa Citizen

 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

 

 The threat of civil disobedience by protesters at a defence trade show scheduled for next week in Ottawa was the reason for the event being shut down, according to one of its organizers.

 

But others who planned to take part in the two-day event at Lansdowne Park blame a Privy Council Office edict that prevented senior military officers and Defence Department officials from taking part in various aspects of Secure Canada 2008 because of the federal election.

 

And one of the co-ordinators of a disarmament group opposed to Secure Canada 2008 says the trade show’s officials are using the peace protesters as scapegoats.

 

“I think they’re totally exaggerating any kind of threat that we posed,” said Richard Sanders of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade. “Our main thing was a candlelight peace vigil. That doesn’t seem too threatening.”

 

Mr. Sanders said seniors’ activist group the Raging Grannies was also planning to set up a peace garden outside Lansdowne Park as well as walk back and forth across Bank Street to slow traffic.

 

But Rick Tachuk of Secure Canada 2008 said Ottawa police warned exhibit organizers there could be incidents of civil disobedience outside the trade show.

 

“We had been notified by the … Ottawa police that they had picked up intelligence on a potential security threat on the event and (they) brought this to our attention,” he explained. “This came as a total shock to us.”

 

Mr. Tachuk said the cost of providing security around Lansdowne Park would have been prohibitive. He declined to discuss the cost of security, but did add that event organizers were responsible for paying it. “We had a security budget, but this far, far surpassed any reasonable expectation of what would be required,” he added.

 

A defence industry official said the price tag was more than $80,000.

 

But officials with Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Canada, hosts of one of three events taking place under the Secure Canada umbrella, blamed the cancellation of the association’s event on a recently issued government decree. “This cancellation relates to the federal election currently under way and restrictions placed on senior government officials participating in public conferences,” a press release said.

 

Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walt Natynczyk was to have delivered the keynote address at the AFCEA Canada event, and other officers were making presentations as well.

 

But the Privy Council Office recently launched an unprecedented clampdown on government business during the federal election, slowing the workings of the bureaucracy to a crawl in some areas.

 

Meetings between bureaucrats and everyone from consumer advocacy groups to industry representatives have been cancelled out of concern such gatherings may taint the outcome of the federal election. The PCO edict has also put a temporary halt to some Canadian Forces equipment projects and has required military officers and public servants to withdraw from long-planned defence conferences.

 

Secure Canada 2008 was to have combined three industry events into one: Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association Canada’s conference, a conference for unmanned aerial vehicles and the Secure Canada trade exhibit. Mr. Tachuk said while the conferences were running into problems because military officers were no longer available to speak, the trade show portion could have proceeded if not for the excessive security costs.

 

Mr. Tachuk said the trade show had been run at the Congress Centre and Ottawa hotels previously and there were no protests. He said the show does not exhibit weapon systems, but is concentrated more on equipment for domestic security and disaster response.

 

But Mr. Sanders questioned that, noting that one exhibitor sells equipment, including silencers and other gear, for special forces teams.

 

He said it appears the PCO clampdown is to blame for the cancellation of Secure Canada 2008, but that the defence industry is intent on blaming protesters. He noted that the groups have held peaceful protests previously and applied for and received a permit from the City of Ottawa to hold their event outside Lansdowne Park.

 

Mr. Sanders acknowledged that opposition to the Secure Canada show was late in getting starting and, as a result, the numbers of those involved were not that great.

 

“We didn’t feel we had the resources or enough people to organize a rally,” he said, adding that was the reason the focus was on a candlelight vigil.

 

 For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

 

 

PAY RAISES TO KEEP JTF2 FROM JOINING MERC FIRMS

December 24, 2008

 

Elite troops get more pay to stay: Extra money helps ensure JTF2 soldiers don’t go work for private firms

The Ottawa Citizen

August 26, 2006

By David Pugliese

 

Special forces units ranging from Canada’s Joint Task Force 2 to the British Special Air Service are hiking pay in an effort to stem the flow of skilled personnel to private military firms.

 

Soldiers with the Dwyer Hill-based JTF2 will have their pay boosted through various means this year in recognition of their skills and the hardships they face on the job in places such as Afghanistan.

 

Several weeks ago, British military leaders approved a 50-per-cent pay hike for those in the country’s special forces — the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service — to try to stop soldiers from leaving to take jobs as guns-for-hire with firms in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

The U.S. military also brought in a series of pay hikes and bonuses a couple of years ago to deal with the same issue.

 

Canadian Forces spokeswoman Cmdr. Denise LaViolette said the increases in financial compensation for JTF2 were not brought specifically because people were leaving the unit for the private sector.

 

“Allowances are reviewed on a regular basis for everyone,” she said.

 

“It wasn’t specific to the issue of going to other groups or leaving DND. It was, that we have a system in place, they regularly get reviewed, they were found to be lacking, (so) we increased them,” Cmdr. LaViolette said.

 

However, she did acknowledge the end result of making such compensation competitive to the private sector is that personnel will consider staying with the unit.

 

But Senator Colin Kenny, chairman of the Senate’s national security and defence committee, said the allowance improvements are directly related to the fact that JTF2 has been losing highly-skilled personnel to the private sector. He questioned why the military would not acknowledge the obvious.

 

“If they don’t want to call it a retention allowance, fine, but the bottom line is that you have people who like a certain kind of work and that work is available these days in both the public and the private sector,” said Mr. Kenny.

 

A March 13 background document produced by the Defence Department on the JTF2 allowances notes the money compensates for various hardships, including conditions of work and risk involved with serving in the unit.

 

The JTF2 allowance has been increased based on qualifying service, with annual compensation ranging from $7,488 to $8,964 for general support personnel, from $13,680 to $16,356 for close support personnel and from $21,756 to $25,260 for “assaulters.”

 

The compensation scheme also includes special allowances for certain skills. A special operations assaulter allowance sees annual compensation ranging from $15,000 for those commandos with less than two years’ qualifying service as an assaulter to $39,576 for those with 14 years or more qualifying service.

 

Assaulters are considered the fighting edge of JTF2 and are serving in Afghanistan and are on duty for counter-terrorism missions in Canada.

 

The compensation is on top of the regular military salary and benefits, which are based on rank.

 

Records previously released under the Access to Information law have shown that JTF2 officers are concerned the unit is losing personnel to private military firms. Former JTF2 have found work as guns-for-hire with such companies in Africa and Iraq.

 

Mr. Kenny said he believes military personnel enjoy serving in JTF2 and would prefer doing such work within the Canadian Forces.

 

“But if someone is going to come along and offer them silly amounts of money, they know they’re in a high-risk occupation, they have families, they have a future to think about and they also know they have a fairly limited shelf-life, particularly if they are an assaulter,” he explained.

 

Mr. Kenny noted that being an assaulter “is a young man’s game.”

 

He said it is likely that the military will have to further increase such allowances to retain such troops.

 

But other defence analysts, as well as some contract soldiers themselves, have suggested the flow of special forces from western nations to the private sector is slowing as security firms turn to troops from developing nations, who will work for less.

 

In the aftermath of the Iraq invasion, private security firms were paying around $1,000 a day for highly dangerous jobs for the former special forces members from the U.S. and Britain.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

THE CREATION OF THE CANADIAN SPECIAL OPERATIONS REGIMENT

December 23, 2008

 

Creating Canada’s new Commandos the Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR)

 

Elite fighting regiment will soon be ready for ‘all sorts of scenarios’

 

David Pugliese

The Ottawa Citizen

 

Saturday, August 05, 2006

 

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – As part of a major expansion of Canada’s special forces — a move driven by the war on terror — a new regiment of elite fighters will be ready for action by the end of the month.

 

The Canadian Special Operations Regiment will be ready in an “interim operational capability” on Sept. 1 and fully ready for missions overseas or at home by the end of the year.

 

The regiment, to be based at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, will provide support for Joint Task Force 2 — considered the country’s premier special forces unit — and conduct its own missions.

 

“We’ve made some excellent progress to date,” Lt.-Col. Jamie Hammond, the unit’s commanding officer, said during a lull in training in the southern interior of British Columbia.

 

“There’s a lot of training that will go on beyond this course, but right now I’m very happy with the quality of the people we’ve got, both the supporters and the actual candidates on the course.”

 

The regiment will have its official “stand-up” ceremony at CFB Petawawa on Aug. 13.

 

At this point, the regiment has about 270 members, including headquarters and supply staff, as well as a training cadre. It is expected to expand to 750 over the next three to five years.

 

The regiment can be called upon to fulfil a number of roles, including training foreign soldiers, special reconnaissance operations or direct-action missions — military parlance for attacking enemy targets or individuals.

 

Since the regiment is at high readiness, it could also be called on to help Canadians trapped overseas reach safety, similar to the mission that took place during the early days of the current crisis in Lebanon.

 

“My response is as long as we’re ready and we’re at a high readiness we could be deployed on all sorts of scenarios,” said Lt.-Col. Hammond.

 

The regiment is part of a significant expansion in the Canadian military of its special forces capabilities.

 

Earlier this year, the military created the country’s first special operations command to oversee such units. That command is responsible for JTF2, the special operations regiment, a special operations aviation squadron and an expanded nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological response unit. Eventually the command will have about 2,300 personnel under its control.

 

American defence analyst John Pike said Canada and other nations are following the example of the U.S. in expanding special forces, a move almost exclusively driven by the war on terrorism.

 

“The U.S. certainly sees such forces as important, but since we haven’t won (the terror war) yet we won’t know how big a role they’ve actually played,” said Mr. Pike, director of the Washington-based GlobalSecurity.org.

 

But, he said, Canada’s expansion of such forces will be seen in a positive light by U.S. military officials and could provide Canada with a way to further strengthen defence relations between the two nations.

 

The special operations regiment started with $25 million, but it hopes to receive approval in the fall for a $400-million project that would include new equipment and infrastructure. The Defence Department expects to build new training facilities and offices at CFB Petawawa.

 

The military put out the word in December it was looking for volunteers for the regiment. The troops were put through a 16-week selection course; of the original 178 candidates for what is being called a direct-action company, about 130 are left.

 

The regiment will have equipment and training similar to JTF2. Military officers say it is important the two units are interoperable since the regiment will be used at times to provide combat support for JTF2.

 

The expansion has been embraced by various Canadian governments. The program was launched under the Liberals shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, when it was decided to double the capability of JTF2. They later approved the creation of the special operations command and regiment.

 

The Harper government has added to the expansion by announcing the $2-billion purchase of Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, some of which are expected to support special forces.

 

At the same time, the Conservatives have announced they will create a 650-strong airborne regiment, but it is not known whether that would be brought into special operations command or stay under control of the army.

 

The Chinooks will give JTF2 and the regiment more ability to move around the battlefield in places such as Afghanistan, although the regiment still expects to use the Griffon helicopter for domestic missions and on some specific overseas operations, Lt.-Col. Hammond said.

 

The new regiment could also provide a recruiting pool of highly trained personnel for JTF2 in the future.

 

“I hope the best move up to JTF2,” Lt.-Col. Hammond said.

  

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006

 

JTF2 STARTS NEW RECRUIT CAMPAIGN

December 21, 2008

 

 

JTF2 fires up new look in recruitment campaign; Support workers targeted in new Joint Task Force 2 posters, website

 

By David Pugliese

 

The Ottawa Citizen

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Page: A3

Section: News

 

The Canadian military’s Joint Task Force 2 has brought a new look to its recruiting by focusing, in part, on the personnel who support the counter-terrorism organization.

 

The Ottawa-based unit has revamped its website and issued a new series of recruiting posters that not only include the combat and counter-terrorism aspects of JTF2, but also focus on jobs that allow the commandos to do their work.

 

Besides showing the heavily armed JTF2 assaulters, considered the fighting edge of the unit, the recruiting posters now highlight support trades such as welders, firearms technicians, communications specialists and medics.

 

Lt.-Cmdr. Walter Moniz, the spokesman for Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said JTF2 and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment based at CFB Petawawa had revamped their websites and other units in the command would soon follow suit. He said the process was in keeping with a general overhaul of Canadian Forces web pages to look similar as well as to “keep a fresh look” for the sites.

 

At the same time, though, JTF2 has also produced the recruiting posters and put information on its website to entice those in support trades in the Canadian Forces to give special operations a try.

 

“There were times that people didn’t know we looked for support trades, so when you go on the site, you’ll see a listing of that as well,” Lt.-Cmdr. Moniz said. “It was in essence to broaden it to ensure we better inform people what was available there for them.”

 

Lt.-Cmdr. Moniz said the commander of special operations, Col. Mike Day, had listed the growth of the formation as one of his priorities. The websites are used not only as a recruiting tool, but also to provide information to the public, he added.

 

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, the federal government provided $119 million in new funding to the Defence Department to double the capacity of JTF2. The unit had about 300 members at that time, but since then it is estimated to have grown to around 600, although the actual figure is considered secret.

 

In 2006, the military also created the special operations command and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment as well as expanding its chemical and biological defence unit and special forces aviation unit.

 

JTF2 and the special operations regiment have faced an uphill battle in some of its recruiting efforts since the army, the main service that provides candidates, has found itself needing all its personnel to support the Afghanistan war.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 


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