DND budget cuts eat into military readiness
OTTAWA - A defence expert says money being cut from National Defence will inevitably slice into the Canadian military's ability to carry out missions at home and abroad.
A new set of estimates tabled this week in Parliament, ahead of the federal budget, suggest all three branches will feel the pain of austerity in something known as "readiness."
That's the amount of money the Defence Department spends to keep soldiers, sailors and aircrew, as well as their equipment and vehicles, trained and ready to deploy to trouble spots in Canada and around the world.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper made clear in a pointed letter to Defence Minister Peter MacKay last year that he wanted readiness — the teeth — within the military preserved and more attention paid to cutting administration — the tail.
But this week's spending projections, which could change when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivers his budget in a few weeks, show as much as $1 billion out of a possible total of $2.3 billion in cuts will come out of military readiness.
Defence expert Dave Perry, who conducted a groundbreaking analysis last fall of the impact the Conservative austerity drive on the military, said the cuts are approaching the severity of ones made in the 1990s.