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Justin Trudeau hints at boosting Canada’s military spending

Justin Trudeau hints at boosting Canada’s military spending

Canada says it will look at increasing its defence spending and tacked on 10 more Russian names to an ever growing sanctions list.

By Tonda MacCharles
Ottawa Bureau
Mon., March 7, 2022

Riga, LATVIA—On the 13th day of the brutal Russian bid to claim Ukraine as its own, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is showing up at the Latvian battle group led by Canadian soldiers, waving the Maple Leaf and a vague hint at more money for the military.

Canada has been waving the NATO flag for nearly seven years in Latvia as a bulwark against Russia’s further incursions in Eastern Europe.

Canada stepped up to lead one of NATO’s four battle groups in 2015 — part of the defensive alliance’s display of strength and solidarity with weaker member states after Russia invaded Ukraine and seized the Crimean peninsula in 2014. Trudeau arrived in the Latvian capital late Monday after meetings in the U.K. with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

Earlier Monday, faced with a seemingly unstoppable war in Ukraine, Trudeau said he will look at increasing Canada’s defence spending. Given world events, he said there are “certainly reflections to have.”

And Canada tacked on 10 more Russian names to an ever-growing sanctions list.

The latest round of sanctions includes names Trudeau said were identified by jailed Russian opposition leader and Putin nemesis Alexei Navalny.

However, on a day when Trudeau cited the new sanctions, and Johnson touted new measures meant to expose Russian property owners in his country, Rutte admitted sanctions are not working.

Yet they all called for more concerted international efforts over the long haul, including more economic measures and more humanitarian aid, with Johnson and Rutte divided over how quickly countries need to get off Russian oil and gas.

The 10 latest names on Canada’s target list do not include Roman Abramovich — a Russian billionaire Navalny has been flagging to Canada since at least 2017. Canada appears to have sanctioned about 20 of the 35 names on Navalny’s list.

The Conservative opposition says the Liberal government is not yet exerting maximum pressure on Putin, and should do more to bolster Canadian Forces, including by finally approving the purchase of fighter jets.

Foreign affairs critic Michael Chong said in an interview that Ottawa must still sanction “additional oligarchs close to President Putin who have significant assets in Canada.”

Abramovich owns more than a quarter of the public shares in steelmaking giant Evraz, which has operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan and has supplied most of the steel for the government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline project.

Evraz’s board of directors also includes two more Russians the U.S. government identified as “oligarchs” in 2019 — Aleksandr Abramov and Aleksandr Frolov — and its Canadian operations have received significant support from the federal government.

That includes at least $27 million in emergency wage subsidies during the pandemic, as well as $7 million through a fund meant to help heavy-polluters reduce emissions that cause climate change, according to the company’s most recent annual report.

In addition to upping defence spending, the Conservatives want NORAD’s early warning system upgraded, naval shipbuilding ramped up and Arctic security bolstered.

In London, Johnson sat down with Trudeau and Rutte at the Northolt airbase. Their morning meetings had a rushed feel, with Johnson starting to usher press out before Trudeau spoke. His office said later that the British PM couldn’t squeeze the full meeting in at 10 Downing Street because Johnson’s “diary” was so busy that day. The three leaders held an afternoon news conference at 10 Downing.

But before that Trudeau met with the Queen, saying she was “insightful” and they had a “useful, for me anyway, conversation about global affairs.”

Trudeau meets with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Tuesday in Latvia.

The prime minister will also meet with three Baltic leaders, the prime ministers of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, in the Latvian capital of Riga.

The Liberals announced they would increase the 500 Canadian Forces in Latvia by another 460 troops. The Canadians are leading a multinational battle group, one of four that are part of NATO’s deployments in the region.

Another 3,400 Canadians could be deployed to the region in the months to come, on standby for NATO orders.

But Canada’s shipments of lethal aid to Ukraine were slow to come in the view of the Conservatives, and the Ukrainian Canadian community.

And suddenly Western allies are eyeing each other’s defence commitments.

At the Downing Street news conference, Rutte noted the Netherlands will increase its defence budget to close to two per cent of GDP. Germany has led the G7, and doubled its defence budget in the face of Putin’s invasion and threats. Johnson said the U.K. defence spending is about 2.4 per cent and declined to comment on Canada’s defence spending which is 1.4 per cent of GDP.

But Johnson didn’t hold back.

“What we can’t do, post the invasion of Ukraine is assume that we go back to a kind of status quo ante, a kind of new normalization in the way that we did after the … seizure of Crimea and the Donbas area,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to recognize that things have changed and that we need a new focus on security and I think that that is kind of increasingly understood by everybody.”

Trudeau stood by his British and Dutch counterparts and pledged Canada would do more.

He defended his government’s record, saying Ottawa is gradually increasing spending over the next decade by 70 per cent. Then Trudeau admitted more might be necessary.

“We also recognize that context is changing rapidly around the world and we need to make sure that women and men have certainty and our forces have all the equipment necessary to be able to stand strongly as we always have. As members of NATO. We will continue to look at what more we can do.”

The three leaders — Johnson, a conservative and Trudeau and Rutte, progressive liberals — in a joint statement said they “will continue to impose severe costs on Russia.”

Arriving for the news conference from Windsor Castle, Trudeau had to detour to enter Downing Street as loud so-called Freedom Convoy protesters bellowed from outside the gate. They carried signs marked “Tuck Frudeau” and “Free Tamara” (Lich).

Protester Jeff Wyatt who said he has no Canadian ties told the Star he came to stand up for Lich and others who were leading a “peaceful protest” worldwide against government “lies” about COVID-19 and what he called Trudeau’s “tyranny.”

Elsewhere in London, outside the Russian embassy, other protesters and passersby reflected on what they said was real tyranny — the Russian attack on Ukraine. “I think we should be as tough as possible to get this stopped, as tough as possible,” said protester Clive Martinez.
 

rmc_wannabe

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It would help if we set our procurement schedule along the same lines as vendors set up their EOL/EOS time lines. Its a real kick in the pants to have a capability funded to support 20 years of service life for the CAF, have the products reach End of Life from the manufacturer in 5, and then have a complete End of Support happen after 10 years.

Theres no money for the vendors to maintain a production line for a 30-40 year item, when its not parts that make them their R&D Budget. If we want to maintain a fleet for 40 years, we need to buy 40 years worth of parts up front and stockpile them in depot. If not, we need to be prepared to upgrade or lifecycle within the manufacturer timeline, not ours.
 

MJP

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I don't even think we are JIT anymore. We are "Maybe in time" or "Nil Stock Avail CFSS, no fill date".

What we seem to do now is jump from fire to fire putting them out, HPR process I'm looking at you, and now the HPR process is believed to be the only way to get timely resupply.

This all comes back to us need warehouses full of spare parts just waiting to be used. Which we don't have.

HPR usage has actually dropped quite significantly over the past few years from a year over year from an average 8% to 4% of all orders. It is hard to say if this is a COVID related fall or a tightening of HPR usage in policy that has trickled down to the formations and units. I suspect it is a little of both.

That said there is a pervasive distinct lack of faith in the supply chain hence the use of HPR. 3rd line is trying to get better at distribution as that is a key driver of delays that is within their control. Unfortunately stock levels falls under ADM(MAT) and they are having issues given the depth and breadth of what they do.

Looking across the two depots there are roughly 11.5K STOs outstanding from before FY 2021 which means at a macro level there are 11.5K Pur Req out to ADMMat that have been actioned for purchase. Now that is a macro nuanced number as many of those STOs are from closed work orders, or are no longer required (51 from 2013 for example) or the stock exists just not at the depot the STO is pointed at but does highlights the backlog that ADM Mat is dealing with on top of their ongoing procurement projects.

Exactly, in my opinion as an end user the shortages, and supply difficulties we face due to the global economic situation could be softened or mitigated if we actually carried a substantial stock of spare parts in warehouses, properly preserved.
There is a good argument for buying key stocks in large enough quantities to weather short terms storms or when the lead time is long however, a properly aligned supply chain would have a way of ordering stocks in advance of running out of them without storing a lifetime's worth. Unfortunately we are not there yet but we should be buying material incrementally as needed for most things but that comes with the caveat that scaling needs to be properly done along with good thresholds that trigger procurement.

Space is limited in current infrastructure and new infra takes decades. There are ok interim ways to solve infra issues and the depots are revamping internally to utilize space better but regardless of what they do buying mountains of parts is likely not going to happen so the rationale way to solve the issue is make the supply chain more robust and automated all along the chain.
 

MilEME09

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Space is limited in current infrastructure and new infra takes decades. There are ok interim ways to solve infra issues and the depots are revamping internally to utilize space better but regardless of what they do buying mountains of parts is likely not going to happen so the rationale way to solve the issue is make the supply chain more robust and automated all along the chain.
One solution I have would be to have CnC machines in every mat shop and negotiate for the specs for various small widgets. That way our mat techs can local manufacture simple parts in a pinch.
 

MJP

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One solution I have would be to have CnC machines in every mat shop and negotiate for the specs for various small widgets. That way our mat techs can local manufacture simple parts in a pinch.
That and 3D printing are good initiatives but there are huge challenges to overcome; resourcing and IP rights being the largest hurdles.

I haven't checked in a while but interested to see a summary of the 3D printing trial they were doing in Latvia.
 

MilEME09

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That and 3D printing are good initiatives but there are huge challenges to overcome; resourcing and IP rights being the largest hurdles.

I haven't checked in a while but interested to see a summary of the 3D printing trial they were doing in Latvia.
There are articles about the testing in issues 8 and 9 of the LEMS journal, including the testing results of different materials, very fascinating work.
 

Halifax Tar

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HPR usage has actually dropped quite significantly over the past few years from a year over year from an average 8% to 4% of all orders. It is hard to say if this is a COVID related fall or a tightening of HPR usage in policy that has trickled down to the formations and units. I suspect it is a little of both.

That said there is a pervasive distinct lack of faith in the supply chain hence the use of HPR. 3rd line is trying to get better at distribution as that is a key driver of delays that is within their control. Unfortunately stock levels falls under ADM(MAT) and they are having issues given the depth and breadth of what they do.

Looking across the two depots there are roughly 11.5K STOs outstanding from before FY 2021 which means at a macro level there are 11.5K Pur Req out to ADMMat that have been actioned for purchase. Now that is a macro nuanced number as many of those STOs are from closed work orders, or are no longer required (51 from 2013 for example) or the stock exists just not at the depot the STO is pointed at but does highlights the backlog that ADM Mat is dealing with on top of their ongoing procurement projects.


There is a good argument for buying key stocks in large enough quantities to weather short terms storms or when the lead time is long however, a properly aligned supply chain would have a way of ordering stocks in advance of running out of them without storing a lifetime's worth. Unfortunately we are not there yet but we should be buying material incrementally as needed for most things but that comes with the caveat that scaling needs to be properly done along with good thresholds that trigger procurement.

Space is limited in current infrastructure and new infra takes decades. There are ok interim ways to solve infra issues and the depots are revamping internally to utilize space better but regardless of what they do buying mountains of parts is likely not going to happen so the rationale way to solve the issue is make the supply chain more robust and automated all along the chain.

That lack of faith in the CFSS is not unfounded. I cant tell you from when I started to where I am now, I have seen the daily HPR reports go from one or items per ship to upwards of 20. And lead times go from next port of call (NPOC) to LCMM/SM state no fill of requirement until _______ .
 

Halifax Tar

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Better asset visibility and proper disposal of obsolete materiel also has a major role to play; having warehouses filled with spares for fleets divested 20+ years ago is not optimal resource utilization.

Yup, like LCMMs arguing that I need to keep burlap sacks in stock in 2 Gen Stores because the Navy may reinstall the glass and tin crushers someday...
 
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Colin Parkinson

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There is a good argument for buying key stocks in large enough quantities to weather short terms storms or when the lead time is long however, a properly aligned supply chain would have a way of ordering stocks in advance of running out of them without storing a lifetime's worth. Unfortunately we are not there yet but we should be buying material incrementally as needed for most things but that comes with the caveat that scaling needs to be properly done along with good thresholds that trigger procurement.

Space is limited in current infrastructure and new infra takes decades. There are ok interim ways to solve infra issues and the depots are revamping internally to utilize space better but regardless of what they do buying mountains of parts is likely not going to happen so the rationale way to solve the issue is make the supply chain more robust and automated all along the chain.
Challenge with NOS is that seals have dried out and rubber has perished. I am a believer in having stock, but sadly some parts have a finite life span.
 

Colin Parkinson

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One solution I have would be to have CnC machines in every mat shop and negotiate for the specs for various small widgets. That way our mat techs can local manufacture simple parts in a pinch.
Working with the US Army National Guard in Ft Lewis, they had a full machine shop mounted on the back of an extended 5 Ton. We needed some pins for our Deuces. The guys were all older and loved our old trucks, so they made us new pins on the spot and some other stuff. We paid them back with time behind the wheel of a Deuce and Canadian beer.
 

MilEME09

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Working with the US Army National Guard in Ft Lewis, they had a full machine shop mounted on the back of an extended 5 Ton. We needed some pins for our Deuces. The guys were all older and loved our old trucks, so they made us new pins on the spot and some other stuff. We paid them back with time behind the wheel of a Deuce and Canadian beer.
As part of our trials of 3D printing, we have created a SEV with 3D printers and scanners. Experimental technology but could prove fruitful. That said I'd prefer a full matshop, but like the rest of the army, the mat trade is hurting right now.
 

MJP

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Challenge with NOS is that seals have dried out and rubber has perished. I am a believer in having stock, but sadly some parts have a finite life span.
Yea it is easy to manage spare parts like seals, rubbers and the like through batch management. It is a whole other game to do that for major assemblies. Our 3rd line Tech teams are really not stablished to do periodic maintenance/inspections on major assemblies. Inspections are generally Mk 1 eyeball which can't catch internal issues. They do catch issues and invaluable in providing advice on any particular item though due to the depth of teams and their experience
 

PPCLI Guy

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That and 3D printing are good initiatives but there are huge challenges to overcome; resourcing and IP rights being the largest hurdles.

I haven't checked in a while but interested to see a summary of the 3D printing trial they were doing in Latvia.
That is indeed the way ahead...and IP is the biggest stumbling block.

As to the supply chain, we need to find the right balance between Just in Time, Just in Case, and Just Because. I am doing some work with Supply Ontario and they will face some of the same issues as they ramp up to full capacity.
 

rmc_wannabe

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That is indeed the way ahead...and IP is the biggest stumbling block.

As to the supply chain, we need to find the right balance between Just in Time, Just in Case, and Just Because.
You don't get those two with IP/ITAR. A lot of it has to do with the fact that most technology we have today is designed to be a "run'er til she breaks, replace the unit or replace the whole damn thing."

The fact that most SLAs and Warranties now specify that any part level repair needs to be done by the vendor is a testament that. Right to Repair gets in the way of profits.

Even if we wanted to have parts on the shelf for certain kit, there may not be an incentive for vendors to provide it.
 

Kirkhill

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The 3D printing situation, as applied in Ukraine, is intriguing.

The USN is applying it on USS Essex.


Essex works in Aluminum. The Ukrainians are using a lot of plastics.

How about the manufacture of explosives on site? Stockpiling and transporting inert materials and then mixing them just prior to filling into 3D printed munitions? Is there work being done in that field?
 

Colin Parkinson

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The 3D printing situation, as applied in Ukraine, is intriguing.

The USN is applying it on USS Essex.


Essex works in Aluminum. The Ukrainians are using a lot of plastics.

How about the manufacture of explosives on site? Stockpiling and transporting inert materials and then mixing them just prior to filling into 3D printed munitions? Is there work being done in that field?
Making explosive at the site is not that uncommon for large industrial sites like mines. PLX and ANFO are two types in use.
 
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