Author Topic: Army struggles with shortage of Arctic parkas, tents, heaters, transports  (Read 22106 times)

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Offline GAP

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Army struggles with shortage of Arctic parkas, tents, heaters, transports
By: Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press 05/10/2012
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Six years after the Harper government declared the Arctic to be a new operations area for the Canadian military, the army has struggled to find enough parkas, cold-weather tents, lanterns and heaters to equip forces that take part in its annual summer exercise.

The "critical equipment shortfalls" were so bad last year, the head of the army approved a request by area commanders to buy missing gear themselves, say internal briefing documents.

The briefings also show the army worried about running out of parkas, and turned to the air force for help.

The army is "required to affirm national sovereignty and conduct patrolling and surveillance operations," said a May 26, 2011, briefing note for Lt-Gen Peter Devlin, the country's top soldier.

The document was obtained by The Canadian Press under the federal access-to-information law.

The request to buy gear came from Land Forces Atlantic region units taking part in the annual Arctic exercise Operation Amok, which the Conservative government has used as a showcase for its northern ambitions.

"Although the (land force areas) have received some equipment critical to achieving (initial operating capability), their equipment lists are inadequate or incomplete, and some immediate purchases are required in order to ensure mobility, survivability and credibility within the context of Op Amok 11."

Specifically, the units needed tents, trailers for all-terrain vehicles, cooking stoves, storage containers, lanterns and heaters for multi-day patrols that take soldiers away from forward bases and deep into the barren wilderness.

The briefing warned that without the trailers for equipment, patrol ranges would be limited. It noted the shortages were nothing new in the annual marquee exercise, which has seen the prime minister, the defence minister and chief of defence staff drop in for high-profile photo-ops.

"With respect to tentage, previous Op Nanooks have proven that the existing 4-man crew tents and Arctic tents are inadequate due to high winds encountered in the Arctic during summer months," said the briefing.

"The greater issue of Arctic equipment is being developed as part of the Arctic Mobility Project, however, this project is not anticipated to be delivering equipment in the near term, an interim solution is required."

The army was asked for an update on the current condition of its cold weather gear, but no one at National Defence was immediately available to comment.

An expert in military affairs was surprised at the lack of basic equipment years after the Conservatives planted their flag in the Arctic, and with over half a decade of flush defence budgets.

"That is just outrageous," said Rob Huebert of the University of Calgary.

An earlier briefing note, dated Jan. 20, 2011, said a decision by National Defence headquarters to concentrate on buying combat coats and wind pants caused a shortage of parkas.

"To find they didn't have enough parkas, this is Canada for goodness sakes," said Huebert.

"The most likely scenarios they need to respond to are a ship going aground and an airliner going down up there. I mean, that can occur any day now, and so to say we don't have enough equipment, even to keep our own troops warm, says a lot about the priority the government places on the Arctic."

The army was required to raid the air force's stock of olive drab jackets and insulated bib overalls. The supply had been rationed in late 2010 to soldiers who were assigned to winter operations, those taking part in an exercise — or other training.

At the time the note was written, officials estimated it could take up to two years to deliver the necessary protective clothing to the army.
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Offline Tank Troll

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This is nothing new down in LFAA, none of my soldiers have parkas issued to them they are suppose to draw them before EX then turn them in right after EX, and there are constant sh!t grams flying to unit RQs till the parkas are turned in. As far as kit goes I can't get frag vest issued for live fires let alone training. STANO equipment forget it. Hard enough to get it to teach courses let alone EX.
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They can have my parka.  It's still in the bag.....  ;)
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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They can have my parka.  It's still in the bag.....  ;)
I can only speak for the Winnipeg Infantry, but we don't seem to have these issues out west. Our troops went out this year with 1 CMBG on Ex Arctic Ram, and did well. All our troops have the requisite winter kit on issue.

Drawing personal winter kit ie parkas before ex and turning in after is asinine. What good idea fairy thought that one up?
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Just a side note... if the press has such a h*rd on for the term "the Harper Government" perhaps they should stop using it.


Now back to your regularly scheduled programme.
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Caveat:  until we get to see the entire "obtained" Briefing Note, we can't tell what else is being said in the document.  Who knows the context?

Just sayin'....
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Offline ArmyVern

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They can have my parka.  It's still in the bag.....  ;)

Then, you'll probably find that yours was recalled many years ago as you do not conduct operations in the Arctic.

Nothing below is new - the decision to cancel the remaining manufacture and deliveries of IECS Parkas and Overalls, to redirect those saved funds into IECS Jackets and Windpants, was made many years ago ... in the midst of my staff doing the issues to LFAA Units. Parakas and Bib Overalls were to be issued only to those Units who conduct arctic operations instead. I was a Sgt. This was circa 2004; the Liberals were still in power and the Defense Budget was still finite. Upping the funding to redirect into more parkas and overalls was not an option. The article below fails to mention that and actually seems to infer that this was Conservative doing. Complete hogwash. I will guarantee that there are posts on this very site from way back then that explain that parkas etc were cancelled to fund more jackets (which every troop requires - even when not in the arctic!!) and windpants for blustery winter days here in the south of Canada.

So, be a good troop and go turn yours in if you are not one of them - because, honest to goodness, they ARE troops who require them.

The University of Calgary "expert" is way off base on his statement regarding "priorities". The pers who conduct MajAids (air disaster response etc) are indeed kitted out with the appropriate kit and were CF priority members to receive such ... way back in 2005! His comment is moot.

At that time, when this decision was made, the Liberals had also just sent us into the Combat Mission (also wrongly attributed to the Tories) which WAS the focus of our main effort and funds - that effort HAD to be the focus of our funds and was! Remember back then when the media was bitching because we could NOT buy kit for over there quick enough? They bitched because we had to "rent" tanks and couldn't buy etc etc. I'm sure they would have bitched even louder if they believed we were buying Arctic Parkas for the troops instead of Arid Pattern Camouflage! Let's just face the facts, we can't win no matter what we do. The media will spin (and the arm chair experts in the Universities will too) whatever they want, however they want, in order to achieve their goals and whatever happens to suit themselves at the time. Period.

Op Nanook did not come about until 2007 with the Conservative government ... who ended up making this a priority CF task. Meanwhile, the funds commitments were already made to support our 'war' effort in Afghanistan. So, if SMEs today want to reflect back on decisions that were made in 2005 under a Liberal Government who imposed finite funding upon us, then - if they were actually impartial and unbiased - they would present actual facts, dates and mention actual political parties involved and the evolution of CF priority tasks. They would also note that, from the beginnings of Op Nanook in 2007 until December 2011 ... we still had shitloads of boots on the ground somewhere else in a small little desert. And, they media and the Uni profs STILL would have screamed blue murder if something had occured that cost a life over there - that some more funds could have prevented - and we were buying parkas instead.

I can imagine the headline.  ::)  They all want their cake and they want to be able to eat it too. They are entitled to *****, but Canadians should be entitled to know the actual facts.

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The University of Calgary "expert" is way off base on his statement regarding "priorities". The pers who conduct MajAids (air disaster response etc) are indeed kitted out with the appropriate kit and were CF priority members to receive such ... way back in 2005! His comment is moot.
  To be fair to him, we don't know if he saw the Briefing Note(s) in question, or just responded to a reporter explaining what happened and seeking a comment.

Op Nanook did not come about until 2007 with the Conservative government ... who ended up making this a priority CF task. Meanwhile, the funds commitments were already made to support our 'war' effort in Afghanistan. So, if SMEs today want to reflect back on decisions that were made in 2005 under a Liberal Government who imposed finite funding upon us, then - if they were actually impartial and unbiased - they would present actual facts, dates and mention actual political parties involved and the evolution of CF priority tasks. They would also note that, from the beginnings of Op Nanook in 2007 until December 2011 ... we still had shitloads of boots on the ground somewhere else in a small little desert. And, they media and the Uni profs STILL would have screamed blue murder if something had occured that cost a life over there - that some more funds could have prevented - and we were buying parkas instead.
  There you go again, bringing context and the rest of the bigger picture/history into it - can't have that AND sell papers, can we?
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Offline GAP

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I wondered when you would wade in.....a little clarity goes a long way.

I didn't realize the issues/shortages went that far back, but they also become cumulative....
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 09:35:17 by GAP »
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Offline my72jeep

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Then, you'll probably find that yours was recalled many years ago as you do not conduct operations in the Arctic.

Nothing below is new - the decision to cancel the remaining manufacture and deliveries of IECS Parkas and Overalls, to redirect those saved funds into IECS Jackets and Windpants, was made many years ago ... in the midst of my staff doing the issues to LFAA Units. Parakas and Bib Overalls were to be issued only to those Units who conduct arctic operations instead. I was a Sgt. This was circa 2004; the Liberals were still in power and the Defense Budget was still finite. Upping the funding to redirect into more parkas and overalls was not an option. The article below fails to mention that and actually seems to infer that this was Conservative doing. Complete hogwash. I will guarantee that there are posts on this very site from way back then that explain that parkas etc were cancelled to fund more jackets (which every troop requires - even when not in the arctic!!) and windpants for blustery winter days here in the south of Canada.

So, be a good troop and go turn yours in if you are not one of them - because, honest to goodness, they ARE troops who require them.

The University of Calgary "expert" is way off base on his statement regarding "priorities". The pers who conduct MajAids (air disaster response etc) are indeed kitted out with the appropriate kit and were CF priority members to receive such ... way back in 2005! His comment is moot.

At that time, when this decision was made, the Liberals had also just sent us into the Combat Mission (also wrongly attributed to the Tories) which WAS the focus of our main effort and funds - that effort HAD to be the focus of our funds and was! Remember back then when the media was bitching because we could NOT buy kit for over there quick enough? They bitched because we had to "rent" tanks and couldn't buy etc etc. I'm sure they would have bitched even louder if they believed we were buying Arctic Parkas for the troops instead of Arid Pattern Camouflage! Let's just face the facts, we can't win no matter what we do. The media will spin (and the arm chair experts in the Universities will too) whatever they want, however they want, in order to achieve their goals and whatever happens to suit themselves at the time. Period.

Op Nanook did not come about until 2007 with the Conservative government ... who ended up making this a priority CF task. Meanwhile, the funds commitments were already made to support our 'war' effort in Afghanistan. So, if SMEs today want to reflect back on decisions that were made in 2005 under a Liberal Government who imposed finite funding upon us, then - if they were actually impartial and unbiased - they would present actual facts, dates and mention actual political parties involved and the evolution of CF priority tasks. They would also note that, from the beginnings of Op Nanook in 2007 until December 2011 ... we still had shitloads of boots on the ground somewhere else in a small little desert. And, they media and the Uni profs STILL would have screamed blue murder if something had occured that cost a life over there - that some more funds could have prevented - and we were buying parkas instead.

I can imagine the headline.  ::)  They all want their cake and they want to be able to eat it too. They are entitled to *****, but Canadians should be entitled to know the actual facts.

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Offline ArmyVern

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  To be fair to him, we don't know if he saw the Briefing Note(s) in question, or just responded to a reporter explaining what happened and seeking a comment.
  There you go again, bringing context and the rest of the bigger picture/history into it - can't have that AND sell papers, can we?

Quote
An expert in military affairs was surprised at the lack of basic equipment years after the Conservatives planted their flag in the Arctic, and with over half a decade of flush defence budgets.

"That is just outrageous," said Rob Huebert of the University of Calgary.

An earlier briefing note, dated Jan. 20, 2011, said a decision by National Defence headquarters to concentrate on buying combat coats and wind pants caused a shortage of parkas.

"To find they didn't have enough parkas, this is Canada for goodness sakes," said Huebert.

"The most likely scenarios they need to respond to are a ship going aground and an airliner going down up there. I mean, that can occur any day now, and so to say we don't have enough equipment, even to keep our own troops warm, says a lot about the priority the government places on the Arctic.
"

Had he zipped his lips before the yellowed comments then I could accept that. His further comment in yellow though is quite judgmental and makes an accusation that is grounded in neither fact nor reality. It is way off base and 200% untrue. Those troops who would respond to those scenarios were indeed a priority. And were issued their arctic gear from it's initial entry into the system - 2005.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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ArmyVern for CDS she Cares.

See the CDS Speculation thread. The contest is on.

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Offline ArmyVern

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See the CDS Speculation thread. The contest is on.

I have no desire to be pugiling with polar bears. I respectfully decline the offer.  8)
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I have no desire to be pugiling with polar bears. I respectfully decline the offer.  8)

But in our Quasi Conservative dictatorship we are accused of having here in Canada, you can't decline this appointment.
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Offline Fishbone Jones

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Not much of an expert if he was surprised by a 'supposed' lack of equipment.

Just another Steven Staples, Scott Taylor, and the unmentionable douchebag, talking head.

More UFI from unknowledgeable nobodies.

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Then, you'll probably find that yours was recalled many years ago as you do not conduct operations in the Arctic.

Really?  I was in an operational unit.  I remain in a high readiness operational position.  However, I was issued the parka for the very reason you mention here:

The pers who conduct MajAids (air disaster response etc) are indeed kitted out with the appropriate kit and were CF priority members to receive such ... way back in 2005! His comment is moot.

At any rate, I will go turn it in as I doubt I'll ever use it.  I think I'll bring the white and TW personal camouflage covers (?) as well......still in the bags......  And some boots..... Gotta downsize anyway.   ;)
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Really?  I was in an operational unit.  I remain in a high readiness operational position.  However, I was issued the parka for the very reason you mention here:

At any rate, I will go turn it in as I doubt I'll ever use it.  I think I'll bring the white and TW personal camouflage covers (?) as well......still in the bags......  And some boots..... Gotta downsize anyway.   ;)

Once you are posted out of that posn, then it is supposed to be returned. They were recalled from pers who were not.
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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I have no desire to be pugiling with polar bears. I respectfully decline the offer.  8)
But I bet you know your knots and lashings.....


So, no racing in Arctic Slippers for you then? Darn..... :(
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Once you are posted out of that posn, then it is supposed to be returned. They were recalled from pers who were not.

Never got any recall message for mine. Brand new, still in the wrapper.
Same as Moe. Gotta downsize, so I'll bring mine to the RQ.
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I've got a batch of old underwear I am not using anymore.. too stiff.. guess I turn them in as well.
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I've got a batch of old underwear I am not using anymore.. too stiff.. guess I turn them in as well.

Prosthetic underwear?  8)
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What scares me is how comfortable people are doing nothing about it.

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Parade States - its bad enough when you have a unit under one roof.

Try it when your sub unit is flung across western Canada.

I need a hair pulling smiley.

Then to top this all off, when the ARCG forms, we issue a kit list....ie "you need to bring this ie parka, and if you haven't got one, you need to arrange to get one"

Generally it works well.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2012, 11:45:06 by Jim Seggie »
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I need a hair pulling smiley.
       :pullhair:

You should have pondered that one magic wish a bit more carefully.  ;)

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       :pullhair:

You should have pondered that one magic wish a bit more carefully.  ;)

Notice that it is a red-headed girl? That would never happen; we'd just smack 'ya.    >:D
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Notice that it is a red-headed girl? That would never happen; we'd just smack 'ya.   

And I might like it.... ;D
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Well they got one more set of winter gear, turned mine in today, officially retired as of midnight tonight. Start my new job tomorrow.
I still have so much to learn.

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  To be fair to him, we don't know if he saw the Briefing Note(s) in question, or just responded to a reporter explaining what happened and seeking a comment.

Therefore the saying "Two ears, one mouth....use as such."  Perhaps he could have inquired some more information before stating an opinion. 

I can just see the newest headline now...."Damm Conservative Government spends XXXX dollars on parkas that are only used on a few exercises per year." >:D

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Well they got one more set of winter gear, turned mine in today, officially retired as of midnight tonight. Start my new job tomorrow.

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Thank you for your service!!   :salute:
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CP shares obtained briefing note
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2012, 20:10:16 »
Army struggles with shortage of Arctic parkas, tents, heaters, transports
By: Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press 05/10/2012
Article Link
 
Six years after the Harper government declared the Arctic to be a new operations area for the Canadian military, the army has struggled to find enough parkas, cold-weather tents, lanterns and heaters to equip forces that take part in its annual summer exercise.

The "critical equipment shortfalls" were so bad last year, the head of the army approved a request by area commanders to buy missing gear themselves, say internal briefing documents.

The briefings also show the army worried about running out of parkas, and turned to the air force for help ....
And here's one of the briefing notes in question (Scribd.com), kindly shared by The Canadian Press, as well as another.

- edited to include second link to briefing note -
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