Harjit Sajjan delivers a keynote speech to members of the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa, Thursday February 18. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)A recent federal report from last year's budget shows military reserves are running at roughly 20,000 paid members — about 19 per cent short of full strength.
Tories were urged to cut size of forceWhen the Conservatives were still in power, they were being urged to cut the size of the regular force by respected voices, including former defence chief and retired general Rick Hillier, who said the number of bodies could be trimmed in order to preserve sophisticated capabilities. Sajjan says the new government's planned defence review — to be carried out this year — will look at the appropriate level of staffing. He suggested that the exercise will not be aimed at cutting, but rather whether there is an appropriate balance between the army, navy, air force and special forces — something known as "troops to task." The minister told the annual Conference of Defence Associations Institute meeting that the review will be completed by the end of the year, but the parameters — including public consultation — have not yet been set. Defence analysts say that is an aggressive timetable, one that the Liberals will have a hard time meeting. Some at the conference questioned how the government could proceed with a review when it has yet to articulate an overall national security strategy.
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