General Tom Lawson and Deputy Minister Richard Fadden issued a memo to Defence Minister Rob Nicholson on November 20, 2013 with a simple message: recent budget cuts will erode the Canadian military’s readiness.
“Without at least maintaining current funding level, we will directly affect the readiness of key fleets of aircraft, ships and army vehicles. This in turn has an overall impact upon training and readiness,” the memo states.
“It is clear that the follow-on effect in future fiscal years will be more severe, as the effects of lack of spares [parts] and maintenance on army fleets of vehicle, ships and aircraft begin to be felt with greater acuity,” it reads.
The Harper government has cut the military’s $20-billion budget by just over 10% by 2015. Despite the government’s stated goal of maintaining the front lines, David Perry, senior defence analyst with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute warns otherwise, seeing maintenance and operations budgets reduced by one fifth:
“It’s had a pretty direct impact on operational readiness for the military,” he said, warning that neglecting equipment maintenance may save money now, but could be costly in the future.
“It’s like your car. You can delay getting new brakes, but at some point you’re going to need an entire brake job,” Perry said.
With an election looming next year, the government is already working toward a balanced budget by slashing military spending by $3.1 billion this year.
Read more: CBC News