Canadian Military Not Keeping Up With Modern Threats: Defense Officials

A number of current and former Canadian defense officials warn the military has “very serious” challenges affecting its ability to keep up with modern threats.

Troop shortages, aging military equipment, and dwindling supplies are some of the problems they cited in a recent interview with CTV News.

Retired Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) lieutenant-general Christopher Coates claimed that the country is failing to provide the quality of defense needed for emerging geopolitical threats.

He believes there will be “significant repercussions” for Ottawa’s security, sovereignty, and global standing if these problems are left unaddressed.

Canada’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre, said the ammunition shortage is what concerns him most.

“If we were to consume munitions at the same rate that we’re seeing them consumed in Ukraine, we would be out in days in some cases, and it would take years to restock,” he told the outlet.

Readiness Level

According to government data, only 61 percent of the Canadian military is ready for operations, while only 40 percent is capable of supporting multiple operations at the same time.

The figures are below the target set by the Canadian government of 100 percent.

Eyre also disclosed that the Canadian Armed Forces are short of nearly 16,000 regular and reserve troops, with almost 10,500 soldiers still in training and not ready for deployment.

These shortcomings are reportedly the reason why the military skipped a major NATO air defense exercise in June 2023.

“I think that there is a growing recognition, and one that many have seen coming for a very long time, that we are in one of the most dangerous (periods of) lack of preparation for any type of international geopolitical threat,” political science professor Rob Huebert said.

“When we look right across the board in terms of equipment, in terms of training, in terms of personnel, the numbers come back and are to the degree that they should scare most Canadians.”

‘Consistent Underfunding’

In November 2023, Royal Canadian Navy Commander Vice-Admiral Angus Topshee revealed that the service is at risk of failing to meet its readiness commitments in 2024 and beyond.

With many occupations experiencing shortages of “20 percent and higher,” he said the navy is already in a “critical state.”

For Youri Cormier, executive director at an Ottawa-based national security organization, this “extremely dire” situation in the armed forces is the product of “decades of consistent underfunding.”

It also suggests that several calls for action are not being heard by the government.

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