Lt. General Leslie declined an invitation to give his opinion on the Conservative government’s controversial plan to spend billions on state-of-the-art fighter jets. “That is the realm of the political,” he said. “And you don’t want your generals delving into politics while they are in uniform.”This from a man whose job is now to figure out where to cut the Canadian Forces?! I have met General Leslie and he is far brighter than this quote makes him appear to be. He is clearly trying to stay out of fire on the issue of F-35s. Yet, any general is political, particularly those at the upper echelons, as they make decisions with significant implications and must be aware of whose support they need and who they are going to effect.
Cutting bases, reducing staff, and such all have significant impacts. Bases in rural areas are seen as jobs providers. HQ staff in Ottawa have some power of their own and may resist cuts. I do fully expect that the Security and Defence Forum, which provides linkages between the military and the academic community will be cut severely or entirely. Less money and coordination for outside folks to think about defence issues. Not good. But SDF does not have powerful backers, compared with F35s, bases, the staffs of generals....
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