Monday, October 23, 2006

You're In The Army Now

Surely this idea had to have come from some civilian bureaucrat at NDHQ who can't tell a destroyer from a tank. Because I can't believe someone in the forces could have come up with this fubar:

Throwing sailors or air force members into ground combat in Afghanistan would be a colossal mistake, military experts said yesterday.

The proposal from the Department of National Defence is an option offered to avoid sending major army units back to Kandahar for a second time. But the plan encountered nothing but hostile fire yesterday.

It could lower troops' morale, would take too long to implement, place too great a strain on navy and air force ranks and generally makes no sense, a variety of critics said.

"I just can't see how you turn a sailor into a soldier without taking as long to do it as it would take for you to take a recruit off the street," said David Bercuson, the University of Calgary professor who is one of Canada's leading military analysts.

"It's an act of desperation, there's no question about that," echoed Scott Taylor, editor of Esprit de Corps military magazine. "It's a whole different mentality, a different role, different everything from being a sailor to a combat arms soldier."

Canada has 2,300 army personnel on the ground in Afghanistan and has made a commitment to keep that presence until 2009. But the army is too small to fulfill that mission without calling some units for a second tour of duty, said Capt. Richard Langlois, a spokesman with DND.

The use of members from other services, known as "re-rolling," is being studied as the Forces seeks ways to avoid sending soldiers to Afghanistan more than once.

One might suggest, say, increasing the size of the army, but apparently that would take too long as well as being political suicide for a minority government.

Leave it to the bureaucrats to come up with a solution that looks great on paper, but nowhere else.

Source: Globe and Mail


Caveman said...

Just to keep things in perspective, the proposal is not to take unwitting airmen and sailors and shove them into combat as infantrymen. To suggest that the powers that be at NDHQ are even contemplating something this asinine is pretty insulting, but unsurprising coming from a civilian. The only re-roling contemplated is for people who are still in the training pipeline and/or armoured or artillery troops. The latter have served in an infantry-like role before in peacekeeping operations and have a goodly portion of the training already. By the way, in 1944-45, when the Canadian Army fighting in North-West Europe was running low on infantry, it reroled non-infantry army troops into infantrymen, so this is hardy new.

Frank Hilliard said...

I don't have a problem with sailors being soldiers; isn't that what the Royal Marines and US Marines are? Same goes for the Air Forces. In WWII the German Air Force had its own infantry called Fallschirmjäger. Wikipedia says, "Unlike practice in Great Britain, the British Commonwealth, and the USA, these infantrymen were part of the Air Force rather than the Army." So let's get on with reroling these folks asap.