Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Budget Axe Swinging Unevenly at DND as Military Scrambles to Keep Equipment: Budget Axe Swinging Unevenly at Defence

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Budget Axe Swinging Unevenly at DND as Military Scrambles to Keep Equipment: Budget Axe Swinging Unevenly at Defence

Article excerpt

OTTAWA - The budget axe appears to be swinging unevenly throughout National Defence, with some branches and sections uncertain whether they are facing a five or 10 per cent reduction.

Specifics of what equipment will be phased out and which offices closed as a result of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's March 29 budget are now circulating through Ottawa and the various commands.

But the list is by no means complete as different sections of the military seek clarification, asking the vice chief of defence staff's office whether it is really certain it wants to proceed with specific cuts.

"There is a lot of confusion, and I mean a lot," said one official who spoke on the condition of not being named.

A second source said the commotion stems from the Harper government's myriad cost-cutting reviews and proposals that have piled onto one another.

The 2007 federal budget introduced an expenditure management system that saw departments review all their operations and trim what was unnecessary. Just as those cuts worked their way into the defence system, the government asked each department to prepare scenarios by which they could chop their budgets by either five or 10 per cent.

Last week, the Union of National Defence Employees said it was told more than 1,000 civilian positions at DND will be affected by the budget.

The sources said some of the cuts do not match the plans that were laid out.

A political source said the military was "loath to give up capabilities," such as weapons systems. There were persistent rumours that the glitch-plagued submarine fleet had been on the chopping block.

In the end, the boats stayed, but the army agreed to accelerate the phase-out of its air and anti-tank defence vehicles, which were introduced in 1989 and scheduled for replacement in 2018-19.

Published reports say the army plans to sell its stock of TOW bunker-buster missiles, which were purchased in November 2007 for $100 million, as well as cuts to base housing and recruiting centres.

Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, the commander of the army, also said in an interview last winter that budget restraint would force the postponement of the planned purchase of a modern rocket-driven artillery system. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.