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Towards_the_gap

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Crantor said:
I have heard that teh Brits have soemthing similar to a "DoD" police force.  Basically, like reservists on contract providing armed security to military facilities and offices.  Not sure if it's true but the source was credible.  I mean, our nuclear facilities have armed security, why not some military facilities?

http://www.mod.uk/defenceinternet/aboutdefence/whatwedo/securityandintelligence/mdpga/ministryofdefencepolice.htm


Yes. In fact, looking at it now, the brits have a pretty bewildering array of security organisations, be it MOD Police (Armed and un-armed constables with powers of police), Ministry of Defence Guard Service (like commissionaires, unarmed watchkeepers and id checkers), Military Provost Guard Service, RMP/RAFP/RNP (military police) plus whatever security force the lodger unit provides (ie Guard shifts). Some places (Brize Norton) actually have all of them resident conducting different tasks.

I'm not thinking we should go this route and have 15 different uniforms guarding our bases, but I think we can all agree that we've been pretty fortunate thus far, 11 years into the war on terror, to not have had a major incident at one of our establishments. And perhaps we need something to prevent it in the future.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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George Wallace said:
I think that for most Canadians, not exposed to the CF and military bases, the perception is that it being a military base, people (CF members) are walking around fully armed at all times.  "Why else would it be a military base?"  I think most are not aware that for the most part members of the CF go about their normal garrison duties unarmed.

This is exactly what the perception is, even to family of military personnel.  My father came to visit me a year ago and I took him on a tour of Petawawa.  His perception before I brought him to the base was that civilians were not allowed on the base unless they worked there.  When I told him that was not the case and anybody could drive on to the base he was shocked.

I don't believe we need to look at hiring a private security company or creating a new organization to look after security of the base.  All we need to do is task units with the security role on a rotating basis and for a very minimal cost the security of our garrisons would be increased.
 

Greymatters

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Brihard said:
Are skilled, motivated combat soldiers best employed as gate security of CFB Petawawa?

Our bases lack even a single line of *defense* under normal circumstances.

I think you've mentioned the two biggest issues with using soldiers instead of hired security. 

Young soldiers are good gate guards for short durations, but after too much time become bored and disullissioned with manning a gate where there is no 'action'.  No amount of leadership or attempts at morale boosting is going to keep a young soldier motivated after doing gate duty for six months with no incidents.  They will not be armed, they will not have authority to 'act', only to report, and have limited training in arresting anyone so won't be allowed to.  They also lack experience in resolving situations at the lowest levels when flare-ups do occur.  It is also difficult for them to perform their jobs when higher ranking persons use their rank to order young gate guards to not perform their duties properly.  Use of third party secuirty services negates a lot of these issues.

For your second point, numerous people here perceive that every base in Canada in under imminent threat of an attack by criminal elements, terrorists or other ne'er-do-wells.  If this were true then we would be manning our bases like the US and UK who have legitmate and proven historical threats.  Unfortunately here in Canada the powers that be do not appear to believe that there is an imminent deadly threat to every base or its members that would require an immediate armed response.  Thus the policy makers and providers of funding identify that the security can be handled by less skilled persons, hence the use of third party security vendors. 

The third issue not mentioned is, can the CF afford to have a significant percentage of its military members assigned to permanent base security duties?  Last year, no.  This year, yes.  Next year, who knows what new conflict will require all available bodies?  It would be counter-productive to train thousands of soldiers across Canada for gate guard duties, and then have another major conflict require all available bodies, and we are forced to hire third party security providers again to cover the loss of manpower.

Just an opinion, but I think I have provided some valid points...


 

Towards_the_gap

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That's right wildman0101, don't tell him or you may have to kill him.



But back on track, in reply to Greymatter, agreed on all points, but seriously, what would your response be should Johnny-Terrorists detonates a VBIED at a large parade/family day/ etc etc? I think the point we are all agreed on is that threat or no, our physical infrastructure (RCN/Trenton flightline notwithstanding) is a big fat unprotected target.

Look at the number of AQ/Terrorist attacks there's been on US bases in the CONUS. Darn few. Have they dialed down their FP in view of this? No.
 

Sythen

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Greymatters said:
Young soldiers are good gate guards for short durations, but after too much time become bored and disullissioned with manning a gate where there is no 'action'.  No amount of leadership or attempts at morale boosting is going to keep a young soldier motivated after doing gate duty for six months with no incidents.

Why does it have to be a 6 month rotation? And even if it was, this reminds me of a previous discussion I had here with someone who was outraged soldiers had to do 3 hour tower shifts without supervision. If your soldiers lack the discipline and professionalism to man a post, regardless of how long, then that is a leadership failure. 100%.

They will not be armed, they will not have authority to 'act', only to report, and have limited training in arresting anyone so won't be allowed to.  They also lack experience in resolving situations at the lowest levels when flare-ups do occur.  It is also difficult for them to perform their jobs when higher ranking persons use their rank to order young gate guards to not perform their duties properly.  Use of third party secuirty services negates a lot of these issues.

Why would they not be armed? Having a loaded, but not readied weapon slung over your shoulder would send the right kind of message, I think. Its not like when something odd happens they are gonna pour out of their gatehouse or whatever, head up gun up yelling at the person.

And their "act" could be simply holding someone in place (not necessarily physically restraining them just telling them to sit tight) until the MP's could arrive. As for resolving things at the lowest level, that is why you'd have a Sgt or MCpl there, so the Pte/Cpl present is not making the big decisions. I think you grossly overestimate the type of situations they will encounter, or grossly underestimate the common sense the individuals will have.

For your second point, numerous people here perceive that every base in Canada in under imminent threat of an attack by criminal elements, terrorists or other ne'er-do-wells.  If this were true then we would be manning our bases like the US and UK who have legitmate and proven historical threats.  Unfortunately here in Canada the powers that be do not appear to believe that there is an imminent deadly threat to every base or its members that would require an immediate armed response.  Thus the policy makers and providers of funding identify that the security can be handled by less skilled persons, hence the use of third party security vendors.

So how many dead soldiers will there be when a lone wolf, maybe one reading this very thread for ideas, decides that those damn infidels/capitalist supporters/baby killers/I hate the colour green so to hell with these soldiers! need to die to prove a point? Ask the victims of 9/11 if the "powers that be" thought there was an imminent threat? Since soldiers are paid 24/7 and I can't see many rounds actually being fired, the only cost would be slightly more CLP..

The third issue not mentioned is, can the CF afford to have a significant percentage of its military members assigned to permanent base security duties?  Last year, no.  This year, yes.  Next year, who knows what new conflict will require all available bodies?  It would be counter-productive to train thousands of soldiers across Canada for gate guard duties, and then have another major conflict require all available bodies, and we are forced to hire third party security providers again to cover the loss of manpower.

How much training do you think this will require? Have a book there with standing orders, and require that each person read it and sign that they understand it. If they have questions, have a radio/phone present with the number/call sign of MP dispatch. A proper hand over should occur and from there, eventually you need to trust your soldiers with a weapon. If you can't, then again its a leadership failure.
 

brihard

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Sythen nailed pretty much most of what I wanted to respond with. Excellently put.
 

blacktriangle

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I would also agree with Sythen, especially that "eventually you need to trust your soliders with a weapon". I've noticed far too many individuals that are not confident with their weapons handling. I think it would be good to get the various support trades in on guard duty as well, as it gives them more exposure then they would otherwise get through the course of their duties.  Not every base has an abundance of combat arms types to take the lead, either.
 

GAP

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Don't they already do that with WAPSO (spelling?) on air bases?
 

Towards_the_gap

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To expand upon Sythen's excellent post:

In the UK it did not require any training at all to mount a guard shift. Not having had the pleasure of attending BMQ, I trust that duties of a sentry is still taught to ALL members of the CF? In which case all you need to pull a week or 2 on stag is TOET's, a check that you are in date for your PWT 3 (in fact this might prod units to actually go out and do small arms training/ranges), an ROE brief from the local JAG/MP, and a daily briefing from the guard commander. Down time when on guard could, during daylight hours, provide more time for PD training (ie conduct of search, VCP's etc), roving patrols, snap VCP's and building security checks. Those signs still hang there stating that all vehicles are subject to search upon entry.

Also, in the UK we were issued and had to carry, at all times when armed, a small, pocket sized 'Card A' which detailed, in crystal clear instructions, what you should do if faced with a threat which may require the use of force, be it everything from verbal challenges to opening fire.

Again, I fail to see why we can't do this here in Canada. I think it might actually wake some people up to the fact that not everyone wears a red t-shirt on Fridays, and that due to our profession we are ALWAYS targets for certain undesirables. On an un-related point, when I first joined the British Army we were not allowed out of camp in uniform, and received training on how to make yourself a hard target when at home on leave (always go to the pub in pairs, never take the same route, check under your car if it's been left unattended, no military decals/markings on your vehicle). This was in 2001, post-Good Friday Agreement. Something to ponder.
 

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Two questions before the good idea fairy gets out of control:

1.  What is the nature of the threat warranting the requirement to stick a platoon of infantry soldiers on gate guard with loaded weapons?  When was the last time a base was attacked in Canada?  When was the last time there was an incursion that overwhelmed the abilities of the military police on duty at the garrison?  I'm not saying these events aren't possible, but you need to weigh probability and risk along with the fact that you think it'd look cool to have armed soldiers at the commissionaire's gate when you drive to the mess for a beer.

2.  Who here understands the regulations surrounding a defence establishment and what sort of actions can be taken on one?  Having dealt with JAGs on this issue, there is more to this concept then simply arming some random troopie to repel invaders.  CFBs in Canada are not fortresses.
 

Sythen

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Infanteer said:
Two questions before the good idea fairy gets out of control:

1.  What is the nature of the threat warranting the requirement to stick a platoon of infantry soldiers on gate guard with loaded weapons?  When was the last time a base was attacked in Canada?  When was the last time there was an incursion that overwhelmed the abilities of the military police on duty at the garrison?  I'm not saying these events aren't possible, but you need to weigh probability and risk along with the fact that you think it'd look cool to have armed soldiers at the commissionaire's gate when you drive to the mess for a beer.

They do not have to be, and in fact should NOT be exclusively Infantry soldiers. All units should need to pony up a section worth of troops. On a base like Petawawa, how hard really would it be for each unit, on a roving basis, to offer 8-10 soldiers for 2 weeks? Say 3 sections of 10 guys for security? 12 hour shifts, so 60 soldiers total. How many units are there on Pet? So it would be like once every couple months to grab some guys with extras and send them to do it. Larger units like 1RCR and 3RCR who have guys sitting around counting lockers might have the entire 'security platoon' to man for their rotation. Just my first thought.. There are people paid much more than I am to figure out these things.

It has nothing to do with LCF when we "drive to the mess for a beer". It has to do with preventitive security and being proactive. Heck, how many people here supported the invasion of Iraq based on they *might* have WMD's? Heck, Iran has never nuked us or our allies before, so we may as well just let them have the bomb, right? Right?

2.  Who here understands the regulations surrounding a defence establishment and what sort of actions can be taken on one?  Having dealt with JAGs on this issue, there is more to this concept then simply arming some random troopie to repel invaders.  CFBs in Canada are not fortresses.

They are not meant to be fortresses, nor do I foresee 2-4 guys at the gatehouse repeling anything. I would see these guys more like a scare crow. Right now, nothing stops me from filling up a uhaul with whatever I want, driving it on base and ramming a building/morning run/whatever and blowing it.. If there is active security at the gate, however, this is a huge deterent to "lone wolf" types and would mean you would need to actually plan it out rather than just driving in.

In the end nothing will stop a determined fanatic from trying carry out an attack if he really wants to. There is no need for us to make it easy to do though. Because right now, I have no idea why it hasn't happened yet. I think the public's erroneous belief that we have actual security is the only thing preventing something, to be honest.
 

Infanteer

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Sythen said:
There are people paid much more than I am to figure out these things.

Maybe they did, and realized we don't need armed soldiers at gates.
 

Sythen

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Infanteer said:
Maybe they did, and realized we don't need armed soldiers at gates.

Wonder if they have the same job as those who were comfortable and dumb on Sept 10, 2001?
 

Towards_the_gap

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And those same higher ups never get it wrong?

Ok, so the situation remains that we will not see, in the near future, and barring any sudden terrorist attacks, an armed security force in place at all CF establishments.

However, what if.....What if someone does drive a truck bomb into Normany Court at 1200 on a Tuesday..What is the response, base wide? What is the SOP for a mortar attack (and please don't try and tell me it will never happen, terrorism is pretty cyclical)? What alarm system is in place that is tested regularly? Loudspeakers/PA?  I know, I know, OPSEC, but is it making you think that 'hmm, I have no idea where I would go if a suspect package was found'. Sure, the garrison duty staff know. But that is 2, maybe 3 dudes, at any one time, on a base of 5,000.

We don't even do fire drills for goodness sakes. I can just imagine the absolute chaos that would reign if something happened. And I say this from experience, having been the RDS when a false alarm went up.

Again, relating to my british experience, another thing the guard shift did, almost weekly, was practice various scenarios. This even went up to establishing cordons and ICP's on suspect packages (a cardboard box with BOMB written on it) left at various places around camp. Then conducting secondary searches. When does this happen at CF bases?

We are terribly complacent, and to think that it can't happen here is pretty wishful. Have a look at these:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyde_Park_and_Regent%27s_Park_bombings

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1972_Aldershot_Bombing

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Hood_shooting
 

Infanteer

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Sythen said:
Wonder if they have the same job as those who were comfortable and dumb on Sept 10, 2001?

Yes, but lets return to probability and risk.  The signs were there that the WTC would be hit; probably the biggest one was that AQ hit it and failed in 1993.  Are you telling me that somewhere in some camp, a nefarious scheme to blow up the all-ranks kitchen in CFB Wainwright is being cooked up?

Again, we need to weigh probability and risk with tasking soldiers to sit around with weapons during the night and look at nothing.  We pay the MPs to do that already.

Towards_the_gap said:
We don't even do fire drills for goodness sakes. I can just imagine the absolute chaos that would reign if something happened. And I say this from experience, having been the RDS when a false alarm went up.

Now, emergency response drills are a good proposition.  Those are good questions to ask and probably represent a real problem that can be remedied through some simple rehearsals.
 

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Infanteer said:
Yes, but lets return to probability and risk.  The signs were there that the WTC would be hit; probably the biggest one was that AQ hit it and failed in 1993.  Are you telling me that somewhere in some camp, a nefarious scheme to blow up the all-ranks kitchen in CFB Wainwright is being cooked up?

No, but can you say with absolute certainty there isn't?  Take a look at all the Canadian home grown  guys that have been arrested, or are currently being looked for around the world.  The warning signs are out there and have been displayed, for example the group of 18 that was arrested in Toronto in 2006.  I agree with what Sythen is saying.  These troops to help harden the target, not to hold the line against overwhelming force.  The harder you make the target appear, the less likely someone is to hit it.



Again, we need to weigh probability and risk with tasking soldiers to sit around with weapons during the night and look at nothing.  We pay the MPs to do that already.

If you can't trust them with a rifle on a single shift from midnight to 0600.  How can you trust them in the field without having slept for 6 days?  As for the MPs; we could hire a couple hundred more MPs, or the shifts can be split by everyone on base.  8-16 pers a week out of a garrison of a couple thousand isn't all that much, or as Brihard said earlier,  employ a section of reservists.
 

Sythen

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Infanteer said:
Are you telling me that somewhere in some camp, a nefarious scheme to blow up the all-ranks kitchen in CFB Wainwright is being cooked up?

Maybe. Or maybe some guy in his mosque. Or some student protester in his dorm. Or some failed recruit in his mom's basement. Or some _______ in his ______. There are many people out there who would do our men and women in uniform harm, given the chance. And we give them that chance every day when we don't inspect vehicles coming on our bases. I'm not saying stop every car that doesn't have a military ID, I am saying use some common sense and secure our bases.

Again, we need to weigh probability and risk with tasking soldiers to sit around with weapons during the night and look at nothing.  We pay the MPs to do that already.

I do not see any risk in arming trained soldiers. If we're afraid of giving our trained soldiers loaded weapons without extreme supervision, then that is a massive failure of our training system. As for the MP's being paid to do that.. Do they have the manpower to accomplish what their current duties are, as well as man the gate? If not, the rest of the CF should step up. Or be stepped up.

Now, emergency response drills are a good proposition.  Those are good questions to ask and probably represent a real problem that can be remedied through some simple rehearsals.

I completely agree with this statement. At least once a month they should be done. I spent 4 of my 5 years in the CF with 1RCR. Never once did we have a fire drill. The only time anything was ever mentioned about it was the CO doing rounds of the Company Lines, and asked a random troop where we would go in case of a fire.
 

Infanteer

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I'm not talking about risk of having armed soldiers at the gate, I'm talking about the risk to the base.  You guys are creating strawman theories about extremists or protesters, but there needs to be a real risk assessment as to how high a profile our (relatively small) bases for our (relatively small) military present to a would-be attacker.
 
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