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June 27, 2018 / 2:39 PM / Updated 4 hours ago

German air force in dire straits: chief of staff

 

BERLIN (Reuters) - NATO member Germany’s air force is in dire straits and funds are urgently needed to modernize its weaponry and systems, the air force chief of staff said on Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: German armed forces vehicles exit from an Airbus A400M military aircraft of the German air force during a drill at Holzdorf Air Base, south of Berlin, May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/File Photo

“The Luftwaffe is at a low point,” Lieutenant General Ingo Gerhartz, who took over as chief of staff of the air force about a month ago, told 200 industry executives, military officers and lawmakers at an event in Berlin on Wednesday evening.

Gerhartz said his assessment followed visits to various air force sites and discussions with troops that revealed serious deficits in the readiness of aircraft and other equipment.

 

“Aircraft are grounded due to a lack of spare parts, or they aren’t even on site since they’re off for maintenance by the industry,” he said. He said a 400-hour inspection of the Eurofighter combat jets now took a total of 14 months, twice as long as planned, and this was unacceptable.

His comments followed recent reports by the defense ministry and the German parliament’s military ombudsman that revealed significant gaps in military equipment and personnel.

A February ministry report showed only 39 of 128 Eurofighter jets were available for training and combat use last year on average, and just 26 of 93 older-model Tornado fighter jets.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) are finalizing budget plans for 2019, but Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, from the SPD, has been resisting moves to accelerate increases in military spending.

Merkel this month forecast steady increases in German military spending in coming years, in line with Berlin’s pledge to meet a NATO target of moving toward spending 2 percent of economic output by 2024, but she gave no details.

Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has been pressing for increased spending after Scholz’s previous longer-term plan called for military outlays to edge lower after reaching 1.3 percent of economic output in 2019, up from 1.2 percent now.

Von der Leyen has pledged that German military spending will reach 1.5 percent of gross domestic product by 2025.

Gerhartz urged lawmakers at the Wednesday event to back a more sustainable spending plan that would allow the air force to rebuild its equipment and improve planning for new weapons and upgrades to existing systems.

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There is no way a 400 hour check itself should have a duration of 14 months.  you can build one faster.

While I have no first hand knowledge of the Maintenance program itself on the aircraft I cannot picture any scenario other than Structural repair that would stretch an inspection out that far.  Even then it would have to be MAJOR. That or procurement of spares to fulfill the requirements not being available.

Either way 14 months is a long stretch for an aircraft of that size. Also one that is supposed to have a design which allows for easy maintenance.

 

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Not how I read it but that would make more sense.  9 aircraft / month roughly would be a better ratio.  Still I am pretty sure they can do better.  Unless as was stated the procurement isn't there to support the operation.

It is still kid of disgraceful to have 1/3 of your aircraft fleet down at any given time.

 

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Is it possible that Germany is devoting such a large percentage of its resources to managing the migrant horror show Merkel created they just don't have the cash to manage their military assets properly? 

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CONTEMPORARY DEFENSE ISSUES FROM A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

NATIONS DO NOT HAVE FRIENDS, THEY HAVE INTERESTS

 
 
 
RCAF%2BTYPHOON.jpg
 
 
 It is reported that on June 19 U.S. President Donald Trump sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin calling on allies, including Canada, to increase defence spending on NATO. President Trump is quoted as saying that “The United States is increasingly unwilling to ignore this Alliance’s failure to meet shared security challenges.”
 
President Trump’s letter comes at a time of increased trade tensions between Canada and the United States.  The president’s administration imposed stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum imports which Washington has said, “are necessary because of national security concerns”– an argument Canadian officials have said is ” insulting” and “absurd.”

 
The application of tariffs based on ‘national security concerns’ has been greeted with surprise in Canada. It should not. Although it may well be true that these tariffs are motivated more by concerns over bi-national and international trade then they are genuinely motivated by so called ‘security concerns’ it should not come as a surprise that the U.S. would put its own interests first.

 
As Ed Whitcomb pointed out in the Globe and Mail the United States followed, almost literally for centuries, isolationist policies. It could even be said that the current fashion for multilateralism in that country is the aberration, not the norm. As he points out, “The U.S. is moving back to its traditional preference for bilateralism and isolation and no amount of lecturing on the advantages of multilateralism will change the minds of those who think that way.”

 
In point of fact, as Canada has discovered in the past, all countries, no matter how close the relationship, put their own interests first. In 1903 the Alaska boundary dispute took place between Canada and the United States over the boundary of southeastern Alaska and the coast of British Columbia. The dispute was referred to an international tribunal, whose members included three, two Canadians and Lord Alverstone, Lord Chief Justice of England.

 
To the surprise of many, Alverstone supported the American position against that of the Canadian delegation. It appeared to Canadians that the British felt that their new policies of what came to be known as rapprochement with the United States counted for more than Canadian interests. Although Canadian representatives refused to sign the final decision this act of protest did not prevent the decision from taking effect, since the question had been put to binding arbitration.

 
One unforeseen outcome of this decision was a growing Canadian desire for full control over their foreign policy. Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier emphasized that Canada's lack of treaty-making power made it difficult to maintain its rights internationally and the dispute, as well as fueling anti-British sympathy, supported Ottawa’s case for increasing independence from London, especially in the years following the First World War.

 
In our current situation both Matt Gurney writing for Global News and Ted Campbell on his website have made the point that if a nation wishes to be truly sovereign then it needs to have independent foreign and defense policies backed up by spending adequate to realise those policies. Gurney in particular laments what he perceives as the Canadian tendency to assume that in the final analysis we can always count on the U.S. to protect us. As history has shown us, this is a false belief.

 
In the past Canada has effectively used military spending to achieve political/trade goals. Writing in The Canadian Military Journal Frank Maas pointed out that:  “After a lengthy review of foreign and defence policy in 1968 and 1969, the Trudeau government announced plans to reduce 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Europe by half and replace its Centurion tanks with a lighter vehicle. This angered Canada’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies, but they could not convince Trudeau to reverse course, and the plan was confirmed in the 1971 defence white paper, Defence in the 70s.

 
The following year, the government announced plans to develop trade links with Western Europe and Japan, the “Third Option,” to reduce dependency upon the United States.

 
 Attempts to foster a contractual link with the European Economic Community began in 1973 and it quickly became apparent that the Europeans were resentful of the reduction of the brigade in 1969, and pressed Canada to beef up its defences in Europe. An intensive review of Canada’s armed forces, the Defence Structure Review, began in 1974, and NATO allies, particularly West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, prevailed upon Canada’s diplomats, soldiers, and Trudeau himself to reverse the 1969 decision and keep tanks in Europe. The suggestion was that if Canada wanted trade with Europe, it would have to help defend Europe.”

 
The end result was that the cabinet directed the Armed Forces to purchase 128 German built Leopard 1 tanks.  Compared to most procurement projects the speed of the program was spectacular. Cabinet directed the army to purchase new tanks in November 1975, approved a deal in May 1976, and the government signed a contract in October 1976. By 1979, the army received 128 modern tanks, on time and under budget.

 
This was a case in which Canada used a directed military procurement to achieve political and trade goals.

 
The time has come for Canada to consider similar actions with respect to our ongoing disputes with the United States. Canada does need to spend more on defence, if for no other reason than to increase our own capacity to maintain an independent foreign and defence policy. At the same time we need to send a message to our U.S. allies that actions have consequences and that there are costs associated with forgoing traditional methods of diplomacy in favour of bullying tweets and gratuitous insults.

 
Canada cannot win a trade war with the United States, we should not even try.  As Conrad Black has pointed out, “Behind the peeling façades of Norman Rockwell and Walt Disney, America is a monster, and not always an amiable one… Canadian policy-makers must understand that they are playing for almost mortal stakes with potentially dangerous protagonists who have no sense of fair play and no interest in what Canada thinks of them.”

 
That does not mean that there are not actions that Canada can take.

 
Cabinet should immediately direct the Armed Forces to procure a minimum of 88 Typhoon Eurofighters. Any complaints from other manufacturers over the lack of an open competition can be dealt with by referring to the “national security” caveat included in any government procurement program.

 
Directing that an acquisition program worth up to $19 billion , include associated equipment, weapons, and other services, go to a European conglomerate would send a strong message. It would be a message that could be heard and understood by many sectors of the U.S establishment.

 
If the announcement of a directed purchase of European jet fighters were to be followed shortly thereafter by a similar declaration concerning the acquisition of suitable numbers of Airbus A330 MRTT aircraft for use as air-to-air refuelers and transports the message would become deafening.

 
No project, however necessary or well-managed, can prevail against a government that does not see the political utility of the project. Conversely, a Cabinet and Prime Minister who understood the practical benefits, both domestic and international, to be derived from giving clear and unambiguous political support to purchasing proven, in-service aircraft and working with accommodating contractors could overcome many of the negative factors that have bedeviled Canadian military procurement efforts in recent decades.

 
Even more important would be the lesson delivered to both a national and international audience regarding the importance Canada places on its own sovereignty.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Trump warns Trudeau on lack of defense spending ahead of NATO summit

 
How Canada deals with America in seven simple steps

ED WHITCOMB CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL

https://jgmjgm516.blogspot.com/2018/06/nations-do-not-have-friends-they-have.html

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Perhaps it is time for Canada to look inward regarding our RCAF.    Even the number suggested would do nothing to protect Canada in the event of an attack, so Why buy more jets to support NATO or to pretend that we need them to protect Canada against an invader?  If someone other than the US chose to invade us, I would bet the US would stop them and of course if it was the US, even with the new jets, we would not have a hope in hell of stopping them.

So instead of purchasing more jet fighters, how about aircraft that would / could provide a role within Canada?  Search and Rescue etc. etc. etc.  I am sure Kip might have some ideas. 

 

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I suggest that the premise of the article is not so much functionality as effective communication by deed and an acknowledgement that at the end of the day, nations must place their own interests in priority because " that's what everyone else is doing!"

Malcolm....you are looking at the " issue" from a practical perspective; "Spend our money on materiel we will use." But the purchase program proposed is strategic in scope; fulfill our NATO obligations by both enhancing Euro relations and expressing in non-ambiguous terms our negative response to US bullying tactics.

 

IMO

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30 minutes ago, UpperDeck said:

I suggest that the premise of the article is not so much functionality as effective communication by deed and an acknowledgement that at the end of the day, nations must place their own interests in priority because " that's what everyone else is doing!"

Malcolm....you are looking at the " issue" from a practical perspective; "Spend our money on materiel we will use." But the purchase program proposed is strategic in scope; fulfill our NATO obligations by both enhancing Euro relations and expressing in non-ambiguous terms our negative response to US bullying tactics.

 

IMO

UpperDeck: I agree but I also think it is time to take a good look at our NATO obligations and made a decision to be real in fulfilling them or step away from them. 

The complete article can be viewed at:  https://www.cgai.ca/is_nato_necessary_for_Canada

Here is an excerpt.

Quote

Is NATO Still Necessary for Canada?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization has been the most successful and longest-lived military alliance of the modern era. Set up in 1949 to counter the military might of the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin's threat to western Europe's democratic heritage, NATO won the Cold War some four decades later without firing a shot. Yes, there were limited wars fought "out of area" against indigenous Communist forces (aided and abetted by Moscow and Beijing) in Korea, Vietnam, and elsewhere, but the European and North American homelands of the Alliance members remained inviolate. And almost as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed and dissolved in disarray, all its Warsaw Pact members that could sought entrance into NATO as a pathway to the democratic world. NATO's existence ended in triumph at the beginning of the 1990s.

It didn't end, of course, but perhaps it might have been better if NATO had wound itself up at the end of the Cold War. The alliance instead sought for a new role, a new strategic purpose, and it found it out of area, or outside the boundaries of the alliance. Provoked by ethnic slaughter in Bosnia-Herzegovina, it conducted operations in Former Yugoslavia, involving air attacks against Serbia and the deployment of troops in Kosovo. Then came 9/11 and a long war against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan, followed later still with an air campaign that brought down the Gaddafi regime in Libya.

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None of these operations were notable successes. The alliance was reluctant to engage in Former Yugoslavia, even though Serbian and Croatian ethnic cleansing and slaughters were all too reminiscent of the darkest days of the Second World War. The Afghan War was marked by pro forma contributions from many members, restrictive caveats on the use of troops by many others (including Canada to the end of 2005), and wholehearted support from only a few. It was not good for NATO solidarity to have some nations refusing to let their helicopters be available to help others in extremis, to refuse to fight at night or in snow, and to have a command structure that at times must have resembled nothing so much as a dog's breakfast. The idea of military and financial burden sharing was effectively non-existent, and no one can be surprised that the war, if not yet definitively lost, is well on the way to that lamentable conclusion.[1]

Nor was the Libyan campaign, though successful in bringing down the dictatorship, much better handled. Most of the alliance members stayed out of the campaign, some who participated proved themselves unready for combat, and what ought to have been a walkover dragged on, the effort marked by hesitation, problems in command and control, munitions shortages, and political disagreement.[2] Some victory.

In June 2011, the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, stated in Brussels in public what many had privately acknowledged: NATO, the linchpin of European security and transatlantic relations, faced “the real possibility [of] a dim, if not dismal future.” The experiences in Afghanistan and Libya pointed to the consequences of chronically underfunded defense establishments, the difficulties in getting NATO's 28 sovereign states to commit resources equitably and predictably, and the speed at which new threats were emerging.

As Secretary Gates said, "while every alliance member voted for the Libya mission, less than half have participated at all, and fewer than a third have been willing to participate in the strike mission.  Frankly, many of those allies sitting on the sidelines do so not because they do not want to participate, but simply because they can’t.  The military capabilities simply aren’t there." This was in effect an affirmation of the military ineffectiveness of the alliance after six decades of existence. The transatlantic alliance, Gates said bluntly, must confront a number of fundamental strategic questions about its future.[3] The Secretary, since retired from office, was correct, but nothing substantive has changed since he spoke.

Indeed, matters have worsened. NATO members, including Canada, have begun pulling combat troops out of Afghanistan on their own and not the alliance's timetable, and all, except some as yet undecided number of Americans, are scheduled to depart by 2014. The civil war in Syria, admittedly enormously complex, produced only paralysis and inaction at NATO headquarters in Brussels and in the alliance's capitals. Then there was the global economic crisis that led Europe, the U.S., and Canada to cut back on defence spending. Finally, faced with the increasing power and newly aggressive foreign policy of China, the Obama administration indicated that it was re-balancing its forces, in effect pivoting toward Asia.[4]  

The world was changing, and the NATO alliance seemed completely unprepared for this new uncertainty. As Secretary Gates flatly stated,

some two decades after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the U.S. share of NATO defense spending has now risen to more than 75 percent – at a time when politically painful budget and benefit cuts are being considered at home. The blunt reality is that there will be dwindling appetite and patience in the U.S. Congress... to expend increasingly precious funds on behalf of nations that are apparently unwilling to devote the necessary resources or make the necessary changes to be serious and capable partners in their own defense.  Nations apparently willing and eager for American taxpayers to assume the growing security burden left by reductions in European defense budgets.[5]

The U.S., in other words, may not be willing to continue to pay NATO's bills much longer. We know Canada won't, and the Europeans do not seem willing to do so. If this unhappy state of affairs continues, NATO may not be long for the world.

All this makes a hard look at NATO essential for Canada. NATO was at the heart of Canadian foreign and defence policy for the entirety of the Cold War (notwithstanding Pierre Trudeau's 1969-70 halving of the Canadian contribution in Europe)[6], and Europe was Canada's heritage, the locus of Canada's deployments in both World Wars, and a market of importance. But all this has changed. Brian Mulroney's government withdrew all Canadian forces from Europe, and the Harper government has cut back commitments to NATO infrastructure and airborne warning. The military commitment in Europe is all but gone, therefore, a few staff officers and diplomats aside. At the same time, relatively few immigrants now come to Canada from Europe, and much of the nation's non-US trade comes from and goes to Asia, a portion that is certain to increase substantially.

Britain, France, Germany, the Low Countries, Italy, and the remainder of the alliance's members – all are friendly nations to which Canada and Canadians have strong ties. But all (or most) are also rich industrialized states that can readily handle the defence of their territory with their own forces and without Canadian – and American – backing. As Robert Gates acknowledged, their economic and fiscal problems are forcing major cuts in personnel, equipment, and capabilities, but those defence reductions are also based on their assessment of the threats they face as Europeans. If they are threatened, they will re-invest; if they are not, they will continue to cut their military budgets. To pretend that Europe cannot now defend itself with its own resources is to deny reality.

In such a situation, surely it is time for Canada at last to ask if NATO is the best way for us to contribute to the fight against terror, to participate – if it chooses – in out of area conflicts, to contribute to countering emerging threats, and to deal with cyberwar.

As we consider this question, we need to remember one particularly salient fact: the Canadian Forces learned in Afghanistan that there was only one NATO partner who could be relied on to support our troops with capable forces, air support, and good intelligence, the United States.[7]  With a long history of worrying about the Americans, Canadians have never liked to be reliant on the U.S. alone – anti-Americanism, after all, is the secular Canadian religion – but that is now the defence reality (as, in truth, it has been for decades), even as the U.S. military is being forced by economic necessity to cut back.

We need to consider where this leads us. Does it not imply a North American and Western Hemisphere focus for Canada? And one with a primary gaze westward across the Pacific where trouble may loom, and only secondarily across the North Atlantic? Once again, the reality is that Europe can defend itself 65 years after the Second World War if it wishes to do so. NATO has served us well, but at the very least we need to consider if it serves us still. After serious consideration and analysis, the answer might be that it does; the question nonetheless needs to be raised and seriously considered.

But if not NATO, what? Which are the nations that have demonstrated that they can and will fight to protect the democratic values and the national interests that they share? The United States, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, the Anglosphere, in effect, all fought in Afghanistan. So too did France (which led the way in Libya) and Denmark. And in Asia, their territory and interests increasingly threatened by China's ambitions, there is South Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, and possibly India. There is as yet no talk of a military or political alliance built around these nations in and with interests in the Pacific, but there is at the very least the possibility of coalitions of the willing when and if necessary.[8]

I recognize that Europe is our heritage (for most of us today, but not for long); I know Canada has had and still has national interests there; I know NATO won the Cold War, and we owe it much. But Afghanistan should have taught us a hard lesson: if we can only rely on the U.S., why pretend otherwise?

We are providers of security to NATO but, as some Canadians understood, even if they only rarely said so, the NATO commitment to provide security to Canada scarcely existed. Canada had committed itself to defend its overseas partners, and it stationed troops, aircraft, and deployed most of its navy to do so. The bills for this long-lived deployment were high, and they were never very popular with Canadian governments and taxpayers. Europe's reciprocal commitment to defend North America, on the other hand, scarcely existed as anything more than an unlikely hypothetical promise.  To be sure, the main Soviet military threat was directed at Europe, and the USSR's bombers that were poised to attack North America were faced by NORAD, a U.S.-Canada organization that was limited to the two nations by their deliberate choice. After 9/11, certainly NATO invoked Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty because the United States was attacked (the idea of doing so being raised initially by the Canadian Ambassador to the alliance), but that was the United States. Only a Canadian would think to ask if Article V would have been put into effect if terrorists had attacked Montreal or Halifax rather than New York and Washington. Maybe so, but no one could argue with certainty that this would have occurred. The U.S. would certainly have reacted to help defend Canada, but NATO might not have budged. I suspect it would not have done anything other than to express its regret and solidarity.

NATO's one-way street still matters. Everyone hopes that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea will determine, regulate, and control sovereignty and development in the Arctic. But the UN has often been a weak reed, and some believe that the Arctic may become a theatre of conflict as the ice melts, the shipping of oil and iron ore increases on the shorter Polar route between Europe and Asia, and hitherto unreachable resources become more open to exploration and exploitation. We need to ask if Canada could count on the assistance of its alliance friends in the Arctic if military assistance should ever become necessary against a newly aggressive Russia. President Putin's nation has interests in the north and will seek to control resources there; so too will Beijing, perhaps even more aggressively, as it seeks to secure raw materials wherever they are. But in 2013, there are additional major contenders for influence and control in the Arctic Ocean – the Americans and the countries of the European Union, our friends in NATO. How could anyone assume that NATO would stand by Canada in any future struggle in the Canadian north? What is more likely is that a frantic scramble for control will pit each against all, company against company, nation against nation. And in such a scramble, who can argue convincingly that Canada might not be the loser? National interests are always more important than friendships, after all, and some very powerful nations have their eyes on the Arctic's resources.[9]

In other words, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization does very little or nothing to protect us at home and has proven its limited effectiveness on operations. The United States, by contrast does protect us in its own interest and is effective, still far and away the possessor of the most effective military force on earth. Instead of pledging fealty to the increasingly hollow shell of NATO forever, perhaps it is time for Canadians after 64 years in the alliance to begin a fundamental reassessment of their place in the world and at last to produce a hard-eyed, hard-edged national security strategy for Canada. What we need is an analysis of Canada’s defence and foreign policy requirements, a sweeping review of where our interests lie today and where they will need to be protected in the next twenty or fifty years. Any such review will surely continue to give primacy to Canada’s alliance with the United States. But one question that must be asked and answered is if NATO any longer serves our political and military needs.

If such an analysis says strongly that we still need NATO to protect our national interests, I will be content. But Canadians and their government must ask the question for the first time since Prime Minister Trudeau raised it at the end of the 1960s. Then, the answer was that NATO remained necessary – but not so much so that the Canadian commitment could not be cut by half. Today, the answer might be that NATO has served its purpose well in the past but is now no longer needed as we head into a new world with its very different challenges. It is time to raise the question for consideration.

 

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