Policy

CAF to Undertake Largest and Most Significant Reconstitution Efforts

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be undertaking “one of the largest and most significant reconstitution efforts in recent memory” in the coming future in order to recruit and retain more members while strengthening the CAF overall.

In a statement to the entire defence team, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Wayne Eyre, highlighted the areas where change will be coming but noted, at its heart, the reconstitution is about people.

“Force reconstitution will be big, complex and challenging. It’s first and foremost about people. It’s about rebuilding the strength and number of people in our force and, at the same time, building the structure and competencies that are necessary to defend and protect Canadians in an increasingly dangerous world. Most importantly, it’s something we’re doing to make us a stronger and more effective organization and we’re writing to encourage you to take it in that spirit,” stated the CDS.

The reconstitution effort has been broken down over eight years.

One of the most pressing needs of the military right now is the ability to maintain and grow the Force, which has been at risk in recent years. Image from Operation REASSURANCE-eFP Members of enhanced Forward Presence – Latvia participate in Exercise FURIOUS AXE, to ensure interoperability with other Baltic enhanced Forward Presence Battle Groups, in Camp Adazi Training Area, Latvia, October 19, 2020. Photo submitted by enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Imagery Technician, Canadian Armed Forces Photo.

Growing Canada’s Military

In his statement, the CDS specifically mentioned that one of the most pressing needs of the military right now is the ability to maintain and grow the Force, which has been at risk in recent years.

“The pandemic exacerbated the problem by impacting the active recruiting we could do, as well as the pace of training we could undertake. This has resulted in a significant loss of experience and expertise to address our operational requirements,” Eyre stated.

According to the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and media reports in the last year, Canada’s military strength is at an all-time low, with one in ten jobs vacant and retention levels dropping dramatically. This, Canada’s top general notes, has taken a toll on the military.

“We’re making the best of the situation—because that’s how this institution works—but it’s been stressful for our whole team and, frankly, it’s not sustainable—for all of you, or for the defence of our country in the long term.”

The Reconstitution Efforts include trimming down change of command ceremonies, parades, and other ceremonial events, as they shall be minimized in scope and scale.

Trimming What’s Unnecessary

With an immediate, long-term goal focused on retention and recruitment, Gen. Eyre has indicated that the military will be rethinking non-essential actions, outdated equipment, and activities.

“Going forward, every new activity and operation will be planned through the lens of reconstituting the CAF,” said the CDS.

The CDS has also said the military will put aside “unnecessary elements” and put resources into work that serves “the larger purpose of getting the CAF up to strength.”

In the next few years, the CAF will also be looking to reduce staffing processes and “ease activities and tasks that do not directly contribute to the growth of the CAF, operations, and modernization.”

This also means that ceremonial tasks will be temporarily reduced or cancelled in order to prioritize reconstitution efforts. Additionally, change of command ceremonies, parades, and other ceremonial events shall be minimized in scope and scale.

All Level One officers (L1s) will also be required to assess what capabilities and projects can be divested, paused, or re-scoped to generate capacity savings, states the directive.

The Survivor’s flag and the Canadian flag fly at National Defence Headquarters Carling Campus in Ottawa, Ontario, on 29 September 2022, to commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Photo by: Sailor First Class Anne-Marie Brisson, Directorate Army Public Affairs, Canadian Army.

Cultural change is a Continued Force

According to the directive, the CAF within the culture remains a top priority of the CDS.

“This endeavour will require significant resources and a willingness to embrace recommendations from external review authorities examining the Defence culture and providing recommendations on ways to effect the necessary changes,” reads the directive.

The directive also states that all L1s but align with, embrace and support Chief Professional Conduct and Culture initiatives.

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Mishall Rehman

Originally from Atlanta, GA, Mishall is a freelance journalist pursuing her passion for writing in her new homeland Canada. She currently lives in Trenton, ON with her husband.

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