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Commander speaks about Army Transformation

Canadian Commander Speaks About Army Transformation

Lieutentant-General Rick Hillier spoke about Army Transformation during a press conference October 29. Source: Department of National defence,Ottawa, Canada, Thursday, October 30, 2003.

Ottawa -- (CND) October 29, 2003 -- I'd like to talk to you about Army Transformation which I believe is an exciting and fast-moving change that will touch every single soldier in our land component. And it will allow Canada's Army, as part of a Canadian Forces joint capability, working with the Navy and the Air Force, to punch well above its weight no matter what missions we ask it to do.

This transformation will allow us to implement the Army Vision and the Army Strategy resulting in an immensely capable land force component of the Canadian Forces that will directly support the Chief of Defence Staff's number one priority: joint operations with all three environments.

This transformed army will be credible with friends and allies and will possess the capability required to be overwhelmingly successful, as I said, no matter the mission to be accomplished, whilst reducing risk to our soldiers as they conduct those operations.

A most important force driving transformation is the changing nature of the threats to stability throughout the world and to our soldiers while they are deployed on missions.

What used to be described as the asymmetric threat, terrorism, suicide bombers, riots, explosive devices and well-armed militias are today very real threats that our soldiers face as they attempt to assist populations in failed states and in some parts of the developing world.

The so-called conventional threat, that of an attack by another country using massed infantry and tanks on land, against which our equipments were previously measured, has become increasingly unlikely.

We believe that those attempting to destabilize different parts of the world, stop us in the execution of our missions or threaten us with lethal force during those missions will have to be dealt with by new and more flexible capabilities than we have had for the conventional threat.

A mobile direct fire system mounting the standard NATO 105-millimetre gun will give us a direct fire capability in a system and on a platform which we can and will deploy.

Mobile Gun System (MGS)

The Leopard tank - which I love after serving for many years on it and I keep a picture in my office to remind folks that if I can change to the new reality, so can they - is a very capable but less relevant platform for the kinds of missions that we now undertake.

The strong qualities of a Leopard tank parked in Valcartier or Edmonton or elsewhere are useless to our soldiers in Kabul, Eritrea, Bosnia or anywhere else that we deploy them and where we require direct fire.

In some cases, we can't get it there because the only aircraft that can fly in are the C-130s and it's too heavy for that. In other places, it cannot manoeuvre and I give you the streets of Kabul, those little tiny narrow alleyways as an example of that. On most peace support operations, it would actually be destabilizing to deploy or employ it.

The mobile direct fire system that we are talking about here today will give us the capability we can deploy and which would fit well with our LAV III fleet, the armoured personnel carriers that we have and the Coyote reconnaissance and surveillance fleets.

It is important to stress that a mobile direct fire system is just one component of the weapons systems on vehicles we are introducing in our plan over the next several years.

These war-winning systems are in turn just one component of Army Transformation.

As the minister mentioned, we are also investing in systems which will give our soldiers information dominance, systems which will give them as completely as possible a picture, not the thousand words, but a picture of the environment and both friendly and enemy forces sometimes before the enemy even knows they are there.

These systems will allow us to move information quickly from soldier to commander and commander back down to soldier, reducing the time it takes to make the right decisions and ultimately saving lives while being successful in what we have been asked to do.

We are also introducing radical changes in the way we train, the way we generate our forces for missions, and the way in which we manage our equipment - all which allow us to better manage our resources while improving the way we prepare our soldiers for deployment.

We also intend to make much greater use of the rich potential of soldiers who serve in the army reserves and to ensure that they too have what they need to do the jobs that we ask them to do.

All of this is about soldiers first.

Our ability to act in our transformed land force is built around the best weapons system that we have and one that at the end of the day is not propelled by itself on tracks or on wheels but one that moves on combat boots - our soldiers.

Our job is to set them up for success because I remain convinced that the well-led, trained, equipped, organized and motivated Canadian soldier will forever remain the most effective high-tech weapons system in the world.

Canadians should be fiercely proud of those great citizens who wear the CF uniforms. I certainly am.  

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).