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Facing foreign conflicts, domestic disasters, Canada’s top soldier worried about preparednessOUS News

Chief of Defense Staff General Wayne Eyre says he is concerned about the preparedness of Canada’s armed forces as it faces pressure from both the conflict in Ukraine and the need to respond to natural disasters at home.

in an interview Rosemary Barton Live On Sunday, Eyre said the two issues represented “strong demands from both sides” and given the issues of equipment and personnel shortages, he was “concerned about our overall readiness.”

“Our national prosperity rests on our ability to defend a rules-based international order. But our national prosperity is also tied to our ability to fight these disasters at home,” he said.

“I’m concerned about our ability to respond largely to [the] need for speed. And so we’re working on addressing the elements of our readiness, whether it’s the people, whether it’s the training, whether it’s the equipment… everything else that enables us to respond with the right size and the right speed. Is.”

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Canada has sent a substantial amount of military equipment to help the Ukrainian armed forces, most of it coming from reserves for the Canadian military. Additionally, the military has raised concerns about its ability to recruit new members – hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and sexual misconduct scandals – and facing personnel shortages.

look | Top soldier discusses disaster relief, pressures from foreign conflicts

CAFs in domestic operations are in increasing demand as more troops are deployed to Fiona-affected areas

Rosemary Barton Live, with Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff, General Wayne Eyre, talks about the efforts of the Canadian Armed Forces in Quebec and Atlantic Canada in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fiona. Ayre says there is growing domestic demand for the military, making him concerned about its “overall readiness” and ability to “react at scale and at the speed required.”

Defense Minister Anita Anand said in an interview: Rosemary Barton Live last week that all NATO countries need to strike a balance between shipping weapons to the frontline in Ukraine and ensuring that Canada’s own military is adequately equipped to be able to respond.

“It’s front and center in my mind,” she said.

Asked if he was concerned about the replenishment of the forces’ equipment, Eyre replied on Sunday: “I am sure.”

“We need to replace our current stock with a sense of urgency, and we need to continue supporting Ukraine with the same urgency,” Eyre said.

Ukraine has repeatedly said it needs all the weapons it needs to fight a Russian offensive, as Ukrainian forces have occupied some areas in the east and south of the country. in an interview Rosemary Barton Live Broadcast on Sunday, Yuri Sak, adviser to Ukraine’s defense minister, reiterated the need for the equipment.

“No matter how much we get, we need more. But we understand that our allies understand our needs very well at the moment. And that is why the domestic defense industry, enterprises and plants, they are now looking forward to the future. The Ukrainian army is needed.”

A dedicated disaster relief force?

Eyre also responded Sunday to questions about whether Canada should create a dedicated disaster relief force, a key question in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fiona. About 700 CAF members are currently helping with cleanup in several Atlantic provinces, Eyre confirmed.

He added that the CAF will always be the “ultimate insurance policy” in case of a disaster, but added that “with the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters, more capacity is needed.”

Brandon McRae of the CPL Cape Breton Highlanders removes brush under the direction of Nova Scotia Power officials after Tropical Storm Fiona in Glass Bay, NS September 26. (Von Merchant/The Canadian Press)

Members of the military told lawmakers earlier this week that the military was having trouble meeting recruitment targets and there were at least 10,000 men.

The chief of the defense staff suggested that giving municipal and provincial governments additional resources would enable them to respond to natural disasters more effectively on their own – but at the same time, Eyre said he expected the military to be in the throes of disaster. will still be involved in providing relief. more frequent and severe.

In interview on CBC Radio House, which aired on Saturday, experts were divided on the need for a different force. Retired lieutenant-general Guy Thibault, former deputy chief of defense staff and current president of the Defense Association Institute’s conference, agreed with the need to foster the ability to respond to lower levels of government.

Peter Kickert, assistant professor of public policy and governance at St Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, NS, argues in favor of a permanent, paid civilian workforce that can be trained in a variety of adaptation and response needs.

listen | Need for a dedicated Disaster Relief Force:

CBC News: The House5:22Should Canada have a dedicated disaster response force?

In the wake of post-Tropical Hurricane Fiona, with military members on the ground to help clean up, House talks to experts about whether Canada needs a dedicated disaster relief force.

“Such a permanent paid workforce, I think it would attract a lot of people who might want to serve in a home unit like this, but are not interested in the other kinds of responsibilities that come with joining the armed forces. Come along,” he said.

Anand said earlier this week that while the CAF is being called in more frequently, “our ability to coordinate with provincial and local organizations is becoming increasingly effective and efficient, and the system is working well at the moment.” Still working.”

Ayre also said that the Army will soon bring out a revised policy for COVID-19 vaccination. The military has the last remaining federal vaccine mandate after the government suspended other mandates this summer.