September 24, 2011

Canadian military: “the bureaucratic tail is wagging the Parliamentary dog”

Filed under: Bureaucracy, Cancon, Military — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:48

Christie Blatchford looks at the amazing ability of the military bureaucracy to frustrate, delay, obfuscate, and disobey their parliamentary masters:

Written by distinguished military scholar and veteran Dr. Jack English, it shows how the bureaucracy in Ottawa — an incestuous nest of regular army bosses with turf to protect and intractable civil servants — has consistently ignored or thwarted government directives to increase the size of the reserves.

What’s more, either those defence ministers whose pledges came to nought had the collective attention span of gnats, or they failed to grow a set of nuts sufficient to demand their instructions be followed, or they were simply shifted within Cabinet and the new fellow came in.

Any way you look at it, Dr. English says, the bureaucracy is calling the shots.

In the result, despite pledges to grow the reserves, the militia part-time head count remains still at about 16,500, or, as Dr. English wryly notes, about the size of National Defence Headquarters, or NDHQ as it’s called.

By the way, just getting the damn numbers out of NDHQ is a trick.

[. . .]

Virtually everyone who has studied the Canadian army, and their number is legion, agrees on a couple of things: The bureaucracy is obscenely bloated, far out of proportion for the size of the army; the citizen soldier, who until called up to full-time service costs only about 20% of the regular one, is a bargain for the taxpayer; the militia is more diverse, ethnically and otherwise, than the regular army.

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