Wednesday, February 01, 2006

New Command Structure For Canada's Military

Canada's top soldier had some frank words for the Liberal party. With a new government about to be sworn in, Gen. Rick Hillier is preparing for a new political boss. But while Hillier is looking forward to the future, he also had a few comments about the recent past. Hillier said he was insulted by a controversial Liberal advertisement that came out during the election campaign. The ad never ran, but was shown on the Liberal party website. The ad was meant to attack Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, but critics called it an attack on the military.
Gen. Rick Hillier speaking in Ottawa.
Hillier said that "like almost every other man and woman in uniform - and I heard from thousands of them and their families - [we were] insulted by that commercial. We don't think it reflects the national treasure that our men and women in uniform are." Hillier struck a different tone when asked about the incoming Conservative government. The Conservatives are promising more money, equipment and troops for the military. Hillier says the forces are ready to hire thousands more troops when the government gives the word. "Can we recruit them? Yes, we can. And then can we absorb them and train them and get them ready to be deployed," he said. A new command structure for the forces was also unveiled. The Expeditionary Force Command will oversee the deployment of 2,000 Canadian troops in a dangerous new mission in Afghanistan. "The risk is high, but Canadians have never before flinched in the face of danger," said Hillier. It is a further shift in emphasis from peacekeeping toward aggressive military operations. For Hillier it is a choice. "We must export stability to a place like Afghanistan, or we will import instability that results from the lack of action," he said. Other new commands are: Special Operations Forces, with new tan berets, who will be employed by special operations forces around the world. As well, a new Support Command, and Canada Command responsible for North American operations.