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The CF After Afghanistan - Missions, Roles & Capabilities

Danjanou said:
Finally don’t forget Cuba, Fidel is on life support, Raoul is no financial genius, (actually strike the financial part form that), and the place exists on tourist dollars and euros now. With a world wide economic downturn underway how many dropped their week in the sun from the household budget?

Did you not read that thread about that huge oil discovery in Cuba? So you think that will have no effect?

Although there really isn't much in Afghanistan itself besides one of the largest Copper deposits in the world, it still is in the center of the "Silk Route" which means that several world powers are very interested in controlling it.  Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran are all interested in controlling the route.  The US is also interested in who controls the route.  

Consider the consequences to Russia, Iran, China or Pakistan should one of them gain control of the region, over the others.  
Old Sweat said:
Where is that apt to be? Dapaterson has come up with a few choice places. I could think of a couple more. Who knows? We might as fall back on the Old Sweat geopolitical indicator; if its name ends with a vowel, watch out.

So, Newfoundland and Labrador are safe, but watch out for Toronto... or at least keep your shovel handy...
I have a feeling there'll probably be more than a few Canadians in Afghanistan long past 2011. I see the BG coming out but almost every rotation I think the OMLT grows substantially, I wouldn't be suprised to see the strength of that organization around the 500+ mark come 2011 with a mandate for another 5 years.
The OMLT problem is that it's senior personnel heavy; so fielding an OMLT of 100 or so sucks the leadership out of a full Bn or so.  It's why strength numbers aren't always representative of the pressure; it's the particular ranks and trades that may cause stresses.
CougarDaddy said:
Did you not read that thread about that huge oil discovery in Cuba? So you think that will have no effect?


Yeah it will. It increases the chances that the whole Cuban ithing will go south and possibly sooner. As noted in that thread if Fidel oops I mean Rauol lets the PRC and/or Chavez in to help "develop" things, then odds are you guys will be there as part of NATO/UN /OAS whatever eventually, either before, after, or during a typical Cubano "election." That BTW is when all the locals grab their rifles and head up into the mountains. Whoever comes down alive is the new Government, they've done it -5 times in the past 100+ years IIRC.

When you're going in watch out for the reefs at the Bay of Pigs they have some wicked coral, and see if you can grab me a couple of boxes of Habanos will ya, my humidor is a little low. I'll give you the name of my guy in Barrio Chino. 8)
dapaterson said:
So, Newfoundland and Labrador are safe, but watch out for Toronto... or at least keep your shovel handy...

I'll put the kettle on, or should I keep the beer cold? 8)
I agree with there being no shortage of places that need and will need help - pick a fire, any fire, to put out (courtesy of the International Crisis Group):
October 2008 TRENDS

Deteriorated Situations
Democratic Republic of Congo, India (non-Kashmir), North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), Peru, Somaliland (Somalia), Thailand

Improved Situations
Bolivia, Maldives

Unchanged Situations
Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Basque Country (Spain), Belarus, Bosnia, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Chechnya (Russia), China (internal), Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Djibouti/Eritrea, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ethiopia/Eritrea, Georgia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel/Occupied Palestinian Territories, Kashmir, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Macedonia, Mali, Mauritania, Moldova, Morocco, Myanmar/Burma, Nagorno-Karabakh (Azerbaijan), Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, North Caucasus (non-Chechnya), North Korea, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Taiwan Strait, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zimbabwe

This from the party platform commitment:
Canada's military mission in Afghanistan will cease by the end of 2011.
suggests no CF soldiers there, period.

On the other hand, these  PM quotes (presuming they're accurately quoted, of course)....
Link to CTV.ca, 10 Sept 08:  "You have to put an end date on these things ... we have to say to the government of Afghanistan that there is an expectation that you are going to be responsible for your own security"

Link to Edmonton Journal, 11 Sept 08:  "I don't want to say we won't have a single troop there, because obviously, we would aid in some technical capacities. But, at that point, the mission as we've known it, we intend to end."

Link to Agence France-Presse, 21 Feb 08:  "Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011, completing redeployment from the south by December of that year"

leave the potential for....
rampage800 said:
I have a feeling there'll probably be more than a few Canadians in Afghanistan long past 2011. I see the BG coming out but almost every rotation I think the OMLT grows substantially, I wouldn't be suprised to see the strength of that organization around the 500+ mark come 2011 with a mandate for another 5 years.
or any other mission that's different enough from the current mission.

Also, a lot can change between now and 2011 in AFG, in any of the above-listed sore spots, or in Canada's political situation with a (still) minority gov't.
Our military is hurting and could use a break in Afghanistan. I hope the pull out in 2011 happens. We are stretched out, equipment shortages and personal being stressed out. We need to let others take over and give us a break before we break ourselves.
regulator12 said:
Our military is hurting and could use a break in Afghanistan. I hope the pull out in 2011 happens. We are stretched out, equipment shortages and personal being stressed out. We need to let others take over and give us a break before we break ourselves.

I have to agree. Other than the political and moralist arguments against the mission in Afghanistan, I believe the Canadian Forces has very strongly completed its commitment to NATO with regards to ISAF and with our sacrifice and amazing job there I don't think anyone can argue against the Canadian Forces, and the Canadian public having a break from Afghanistan.

Plus, like others have said it allows us to consider other deployments where we are strongly needed. I however disagree with Sudan to some extent. Sudan currently is undertaking a African Union contingent and I believe before we start sending Western deployments there we need to see if this local authority can bring peace to the region. Though we should definitely support it as much as possible (technical support such as advisors etc.).

Tidbits of General Leslie's testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, from the Canadian Press,
...."In the mid-term, and beginning in July 2011, we will have to explore the possibility of taking a short operational break, that is well-organized and synchronized, of at least one year," he said ....

and the Toronto Star
....Despite the pause, Leslie said the army would still be ready to respond to emergencies if called on.  "We will always be prepared to carry out our various national and international tasks," he told the Senate defence committee....

He also seems (rightly) unhappy about waiting for the newest tanks - from the Globe & Mail
.... Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, Chief of the Land Staff, said he can not explain why he is still waiting for the badly needed tanks. "Quite frankly, it's taking an awfully long time," Gen. Leslie told the Senate committee on national security and defence. "They bought 100 Leopard 2s. Forty are still in Europe and 40 are currently in Montreal and they've been in Montreal since I believe November of last year. And I do not yet have my hands on those Leopard 2s with which to train our soldiers." ....
We need a lot longer operational pause than 1 year... with Bosnia, the army has been tasked since the early 90's non-stop... As a result, the ability to conduct Bde and above level operations is almost nil.  If we jump into another major operation before consolidating all we're going to do is lose mroe experienced people who are tired of deploying and lose more of our ability to conduct symetrical operations.
Well we can put it on paper and go through the motions but I really don't see it happening. Kinda like the current Operational Tempo. Looked really good. Didn't work out very well.
I was just watching the discovery channel special on combat school and the Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Which has been good so far, but it me thinking what is going to happen to the Forces after 2011 and their a Liberal government in power?  The Liberals have a very poor record when it comes to giving money to the Forces and their main goal always seem to be reducing the combat capabilities of the Forces.  After 2011 the Cf is going to have buy almost new kits, from LAV's, G-wagons, to small arms and more.  So my question is what are the chances of the Forces keeping the same  level of combat capabilities it has now.  My feeling is it will be reduced.  Bu how much it's hard to say. But the economy declining and Liberal party support in the anti military movement, it's hard to see the Forces coming out a new Liberal government for the better. what do you guys think.
Likely if the Liberals are in power (Yuk) they will sell all this nice kit we have got and are getting and invest in a lot of Blue Berets and greeting cards in foreign languages beacause after all we are just the Liberal Parties "Peacekeeping Force" right??
Bird_Gunner45 said:
We need a lot longer operational pause than 1 year... with Bosnia, the army has been tasked since the early 90's non-stop...
We did drop tempo quite a bit for the few years while Op ATHENA was up in Kabul.

Weak on defence
Vancouver Sun
18 Mar 09

Canada's military leaders have never been in the habit of using scare tactics to press for bigger budgets -- a strategy that many police chiefs, by the way, have turned into an art form.

So when the respected Lt.-Gen Andrew Leslie warns that Canada's armed forces have been pushed to capacity and may need a year-long "operational pause," we can assume he is not exaggerating.

Leslie's warning ought to reinvigorate a national conversation about what we expect from our military and how we plan to achieve that. Will we continue to play a major military role around the world as well as at home? Or, more accurately, can we?

Unless Canadians are willing to invest the money needed to operate a modern armed forces, and to stem growing attrition rates, is it even possible simply to maintain the status quo?

The urgency of this discussion is clear. Government officials are suggesting that Canada will continue to play a role in Afghanistan even after the 2011 planned withdrawal date, but the nature of that role is dependent on the resources we have to offer.

There are alarming indications that the Canadian military is weakening during a time of growing demand. Attrition rates in the army are steadily increasing.

Despite stepped-up recruitment drives, the army has repeatedly fallen short of expansion goals. No wonder the troops are showing signs of strain, both individually and as a collective.

Things are so bad, Leslie told the Senate's security and defence committee last week, that the army will have to consider taking an operational break of at least one year after Canadian troops leave Afghanistan in 2011. Just making it to that deadline is a challenge.


This is unacceptable. The Canadian government can't send soldiers to places like Afghanistan without holding up its part of the bargain. And this isn't just about fighting foreign wars.

Canada's most pressing security interest is right here at home, as other countries try to erode our sovereignty in the North. The Russian surveillance plane that came up over the Arctic and tried to make mischief on the eve of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Ottawa won't be the last.

The 2010 Vancouver Olympics -- the largest peacetime security effort in this country's history -- will further strain the military.

Canadians may see themselves as a nation only of peacekeepers, but in today's world we neglect national defence at our peril.

[For full article , see Vancouver Sun Editorials]
The first time I heard suggestion of a 2011/2012 operational pause was in an article written by retired general Lewis Mckenzie.  It seemed odd to me at the time.  Our peak demand is 2010 when we have to continue operations in Afghanistan, continue force generating for Afghanistan, and provide support to the Olympics (Op PODIUM).  Surely, I though, if we can make it to the far side of that spike demand then we can carry on meeting whatever commitment is set in Afghanistan for 2012 & beyond.

Hearing this now from the person best informed to comment causes me to wonder.  Are we breaking ourselves just to reach the finish line?  Where does that leave us in the event of the unexpected in 2011/12, or is a break the only way to leave us the ability to meet the unexpected in that time window?
What do you think the deployment opportunities will be come 2011?
Or perhaps, september 2010 for deployment in 2011?
The way I look at it is there still needs to be some kind of secutiry element in place for pull-out....
Or, is 2010 the last kick at the can?
Start and end of a Torch post, with further links:

Army could handle new foreign deployment in 2012 

It almost seems as if some in the Army want a new mission soonest, whether or not national interest as decided by the government requires it. At least the 2012 date should rule out any significant number of troops for a Congo deployment, though presumably a headquarters element would be possible (but why choose to command that operation? see towards end at immediately preceding link) According to the chief of staff for land operations... 

...I don't think the public will be ready for any major foreign "adventure"--certainly not a combat one--for a fair while. I'm rather bemused by the Army leadership's eagerness.

From a Torch post:

CF drumming up a Congo mission?

...one really has to furiously wonder. Given the strict clampdown this government has imposed on, er, communications, why did this Lt.-Col. effectively advocate a CF Congo mission?.. 

But, heck, it's an honest-to-God UN-run mission (though not "traditional peacekeeping" since it's under Chapter VII of the UN Charter [see 8. here],
not Chapter VI) that has been going since 2000 without a clearly-defined exit strategy other than to stay, and that has to work with a miserable government with little respect for human rights and questionable control over much of its vast territory. So let's just jump right in and take command, right? Want a real quagmire? Want allegations of our knowledge of nasty things going on related to the forces under our command, and their government allies, that we do not/cannot prevent? 

At least substantial Army forces should not be available until 2012. 

One awaits a vigorous and searching Commons' debate on any new mission; and one hopes the Commander-in-Chief isn't playing an advocacy role.

UN Peacekeeping
Brian Stewart
Are we really thinking of taking on another mission?
Last Updated: Thursday, April 15, 2010 | 7:40 AM ET


One of the most intriguing aspects of being Canadian is our national reverence for UN peacekeeping, an ideal that exists almost entirely now in our imagination.

Polls show most Canadians now insist that combat operations end with our term in Afghanistan in 2011 and want our high-quality army to be limited to peacekeeping only.

In short, we appear to want our military restricted to the kind of duties first envisaged by former prime minister Lester Pearson in the 1950s and then celebrated through the decades by government publicity posters of blue-helmeted soldiers protecting women and children from violence and anarchy.

The hard reality, of course, is often very different, as most soldiers, humanitarian workers and foreign correspondents know only too well.

Yes, some peace missions have worked — where there is an actual peace that's agreed upon by the parties involved.

But history suggests there are few types of military mission more likely to end in failure, frustration and searing shame than what passes for peacekeeping today.

Think of Rwanda, Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, the Balkans, Sierra Leone and Haiti, among many examples.

Protecting civilians
Since Pearson's time, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been slaughtered while a UN peacekeeping mission stood idly by, either crippled by UN bureaucracy, national caveats against taking risk, confusion over mandates, or simple incompetence and even indifference.

Around the world, millions of people have come to think of UN peacekeeping missions not as saviours but too often as hollow promises of protection that vanish in a crisis.

This is why anyone thinking of a new Canadian peacekeeping mission — as Ottawa seems to be doing as it contemplates what to do with our military post-Afghanistan — should carefully read the details of an independent study commissioned by the UN's own Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs department.

The title may be bland "Protecting Civilians in the Context of UN Peacekeeping Operations." But the substance makes for chilling reading.

The bottom line: A decade ago, a chastened UN, reacting to past failures, set out to make "protection of civilians in armed conflict" a priority mandate, but still hasn't found the collective will, means or strategy to bring this about.

The reality, the report finds, is that too often peacekeeping troops are ill-trained, ill-equipped, and even ill-informed about their roles and the country they're supposed to help.

What's more, they're usually tightly restricted by their own nations as to what risks they can run to protect the civilians they are pledged to look out for. Too often, it turns out, the answer is "no risk."

Almost incredibly, the study finds that even UN commanders in the field "often serve without a clear understanding of what protection of civilian mandates mean, how it is addressed and whether it is a priority."

Whether it is a priority? Did Rwanda and Srebenica fail to even register?

Wording so vague
Let's be clear. The kind of "threats to civilians" we're talking about cover almost every horror the human mind is capable off: mass rape of women by armed gangs, child sex slavery, the punitive amputation of limbs, and even massacres of whole communities.

In the kind of failed states we are looking at, armed factions build terror upon terror to further their aims.

But the main fault lies not just in the field but right at UN headquarters itself.

The study finds that the UN Security Council often fails to even consider protection of civilians when it orders up a blue-helmet mission. The wording of mandates is so vague that civilian well-being just falls through the slats.

Back in the mid-1990s, when then Canadian general Romeo Dallaire was informed by Ottawa that he had been picked to head the Rwanda peacekeeping mission, he had no idea where the country was in Africa and had to go out and buy his own map.

One wonders if anything has changed.

Nearly 15 years later, the report still finds serious "gaps" at the top of the UN in setting out a mission's goals. These lead, it says, to "the extremely limited training that senior mission leaders and uniformed personnel receive on protection of civilians prior to deployment."

Specific guidelines
The UN, of course, is not a government and member nations are responsible for its failings.

This study suggests nations may yet reform peacekeeping at the top, but I've been reading upbeat UN reports long enough to want evidence before I believe it.

So should our government.

Canada, which is trying to win a long-coveted permanent seat on the Security Council, is rumoured to be courting votes among member nations by dropping suggestions in New York that it might consider a future peacekeeping mission.

A big mission to Haiti would make sense. Canada has a peacekeeping history there and, as a top aid donor, would have influence on ensuring a civilian-protection mandate.

But some other possible missions — one to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo has been rumoured — should only be considered with extreme caution.

Jumping from Afghanistan to the Congo would truly be a leap from the frying pan into the fire.

If we do take this on, Canada's military leaders should first establish, at the very least, that any peacekeeping mission will have clear guidelines to be honoured in the field, at UN headquarters and by Ottawa itself.

That involves ensuring proper arms and support, and having significant military backup in case of emergencies.

What's more, officers should insist on establishing very clear guidelines for the serious use of force, the so-called rules of engagement, to advance the mandate of the mission.

No Canadian troops should ever again have to stand by helplessly while civilians are massacred before their eyes, as was the case in Rwanda, and even on occasion in the former Yugoslavia.

And Canada should not lend its name to any mission that only promises to protect the innocent, but then fails to act when courage is required.