September 26, 2011. By David Pugliese - Defence Watch
I recently wrote about the warning from Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie about the rising personnel costs and DND/the Canadian Forces.
Leslie’s transformation team has plotted the cost of personnel to 2015. By then, he estimates that more 70 per cent of the country’s defence spending will go to pay for personnel…..the caveat from the team is that this will happen unless there are cuts to personnel.
The personnel time bomb will also put in jeopardy the re-equipment plans for the Canadian Forces, the team indicates, as well as the ability of the CF to do its mission.
The Canada First Defence Strategy envisioned earmarking about 51 per cent of the defence budget for personnel, with the rest going to operations, infrastructure and equipment purchases.
The transformation team found that by 2009-2010 personnel costs had risen to just over 60 per cent because of increases in numbers of personnel and enhanced pensions and medical benefits.
Leslie is talking about cutting public servants, reserve soldiers and reducing by 30 per cent the $2.7 billion that DND spends annually on civilian contractors.
How will the government respond? It’s studying the Leslie report and Defence Minister Peter MacKay says any response will be in the 2012 budget to be released in the spring.
Some defence observers say what is contained in there will be an indication of whether the government is serious in transformation and future capabilities for the CF.
But already sources are suggesting to Defence Watch cutbacks will be focused on the contractors, reservists and public servants.