Tuesday, July 10, 2007

 

American's Disturbed By Canadian Millitary Build-Up

I cracked up when I saw this article in the HuffPo. It is interesting to look at the Canadian military perspective on these icebreakers (via Galloping Beaver below)

Canada announced plans Monday to increase its Arctic military presence in an effort to assert sovereignty over the Northwest Passage - a potentially oil-rich region the United States claims is international territory.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said six to eight patrol ships will guard what he says are Canadian waters. A deep water port will also be built in a region the U.S. Geological Survey estimates has as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

"Canada has a choice when it comes to defending our sovereignty over the Arctic. We either use it or lose it. And make no mistake, this government intends to use it," Harper said. "It is no exaggeration to say that the need to assert our sovereignty and protect our territorial integrity in the North on our terms have never been more urgent."

The Galloping Beaver points out that these new toy boats are neat but not what our military wants:

Steve Harper has done it again. Without a comprehensive defence review in place, without a white-paper and contradicting the methods laid out by the Canadian navy to secure the Arctic, he has decided to tell the navy what type of ships they will have to form a fleet.
The federal government will fund the construction of six to eight new Arctic patrol ships to help reassert Canada's sovereignty over the North, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Monday.

The ships will be custom-built, state of the art and made in Canada, Harper said during a ceremony at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt on Vancouver Island.

Based on the only existing defence policy the military has to use, the Canadian navy produced this strategic planning document entitled Leadmark: The Navy's Strategy for 2020. (Which has now disappeared from the navy's frontpage on the DND site.)
Nowhere in that document will you see a specific requirement identified by the navy for any ice-resistant ships. Which means that the Harper government has inverted the process and is now telling the navy, not what needs to be done, but exactly how to do it.

In truth, the Canadian navy would love to have Arctic patrol ships... after all other requirements and resource demands are met. They would also love to have the people to man them, or has it been lost on this government that there are really only nine crews to run twelve frigates?

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