Thursday, May 17, 2012

They really didn't mean it

Peter MacKay presents his latest bit of bungling.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay's recent written response to questions tabled in Parliament reveal that 2006 federal Conservative promises for 5 Wing Goose Bay are no longer part of the military’s plans.

Prior to the election that brought the Tories to power, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to station a new, 650-member rapid reaction army battalion at CFB Goose Bay, plus a new long-range unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) squadron at the base.
Oh yes, the territorial battalion group promised for St. John's? Just kidding. They will be located, according to MacKay, from Vancouver to Halifax, although I wouldn't be setting up bleachers anytime soon for that one either.

Curiously though, MacKay, in attempting to offer yet another excuse for not doing what the Harperites promised to do, (all previous excuses involved Afghanistan and that was the standard excuse for everything that didn't happen CF-wide), shone the light on another program which he has typically covered in mud. JUSTAS.
“As part of the [defence strategy], there will be a surveillance ‘system of systems’ that will be comprised of sensors, unmanned vehicles and satellites that will keep Canada’s maritime approaches safe and secure, including in the Arctic,” MacKay’s response notes.
JUSTAS stands for Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System and just so we're clear here, DND has messed that up nicely. Like every other project the Harper government has gotten their fingers into, it has slid well past the delivery date, has been started and restarted several times and has caused potential suppliers to throw their hands in the air, turning away from the project in frustration.


Kevin Wood said...

Airshow really does have the reverse Midas touch, everything he touches turns to shit.

DFH said...

McKay"watch this dance" Arsehole...

thwap said...

You know your national conservatives are terrible when they manage to piss-off weapons dealers!

Sixth Estate said...

I'm confused. It's a planned single rapid-response battalion, but its members are going to be scattered literally across the country from Vancouver to Halifax?

Leaving aside the broken promise to Newfoundland, is this practical? Is this normal?

Boris said...

is this practical? Is this normal?

If I may, I don't know about practical but it is definitely normal for our Cons.

Dave said...

Actually, the plan was for three permanent force 650-strength battalions: one in each of Goose Bay, Trenton and Comox. The one is Trenton is simply a shift of personnel from one base to another and is a part of the SOR.

The territorials (a name they stole from the Brits), were to be 500 people strong each (100 regulars/400 reservists) in twelve cities. (That's something akin to the Chretien 90/10 battalions that never actually materialized). Aside from the obvious recruiting problems of reservists, there was the problem of reconciling the regular force manning. It meant 1200 regular troops on full pay and allowances, and given their presumed role, we're not talking about lower paid privates. It meant increasing the established ceiling or pillaging the existing CA infantry battalions for senior leaders.

In short, the whole idea is very, very costly and probably outside the realm of realistic.

Note: That won't stop them from talking about it.

Dave said...

Oh yes, and Comox, just like Goose Bay, didn't happen either.

Sixth Estate said...

Okay, that makes more sense. (Your explanation, I mean.)