Questions continue to swirl around the planned $2-billion procurement of Close Combat Vehicles for the Canadian Army, with some sources suggesting that the project is facing imminent cancellation while others insist it remains on track.
Last month, retired General Rick Hillier, formerly the Chief of Defence Staff, argued that the Army does not need the CCV (Andrea Janus, “Canada ‘just can’t get around’ army cuts, Hillier says” CTV News, 23 September 2013):
I think we’ve done such a good job of actually bringing the light armoured vehicle III (LAV III) out of Afghanistan, learned a variety of lessons from contact with an enemy there who is smart, experienced, capable, ruthless and we built this vehicle into a world class vehicle. I actually think, personal opinion, we no longer have a need for a Close Combat Vehicle. We could save ourselves about 2-billion right there and help mitigate the rest of the cuts across the Canadian Forces.
Hillier also suggested making personnel cuts that would bring the Canadian Forces from roughly 65,000 full-time members to about 50,000, arguing that otherwise reductions in the overall military budget will hit the Forces’ training activities too hard. According to Hillier, “60 percent of the budget pays people, and you can’t get away from that, equipment… is about 15-17 percent usually, and then [there is] what we call operations and training which marries people and equipment together and builds a team.” Hillier wants to see cuts to the operations and training budget avoided, stating that cuts would mean “soldiers will sit in garrison and ships will remain tied up at the dock and airplanes won’t fly.”
Earlier in September, the Rideau Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives released a report calling on the government to cancel the CCV procurement.
Photo credit: CTV