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YCISS military analyst speaks with media about Canada's Armed Forces

YCISS military analyst speaks with media about Canada's Armed Forces

Martin Shadwick, a military analyst and research fellow in the York Centre for International & Security Studies and a lecturer in the Department of Political Science in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, has recently been quoted in several media outlets about his research on Canada's armed forces.

He spoke to the Calgary Herald April 24 about how Canada's wounded soldiers are overlooked in conflicts defined by the number of our dead:

As Canada’s role in Afghanistan approaches its final year, the number of injured soldiers is more than 10 times the fallen.

“Fatalities do draw the most attention, because there’s a finality to it,” says Martin Shadwick, a military analyst in the York Centre for International & Security Studies. “It’s a cliché, but it’s the ultimate sacrifice. Even though our number of wounded is quite high, it doesn’t resonate. That’s disquieting, because some of these guys are horrifically injured for the rest of their lives.”

The Canadian Forces say they simply don’t want Taliban insurgents to know.

Shadwick points out that security concerns are somewhat valid because information can travel the globe in moments. However, Canada’s suppression of their numbers is far greater than other countries, such as Australia, which makes a public announcement every time a soldier is seriously wounded.

“A yearly release of the numbers seems overzealous. There must be a compromise in there somewhere. In comparative terms, we seem to be relying very heavily on the side of caution,” Shadwick says.

Shadwick spoke to the Vancouver Sun April 18 about the Canadian Forces' plan to cut back on recruiting staff now that the armed forces are nearing their targets:

Defence analyst Martin Shadwick said the end of the military mission in Afghanistan in July 2011 takes some of the pressure off the Canadian Forces in terms of the need for new recruits.

But he questioned whether cutting back on recruiting staff was the right approach, considering that some services such as the navy have significant problems getting personnel.

"Can you really let all those folks go considering the navy is hurting?" he asked.

Shadwick also spoke to DefenseNews about plans to buy new armored vehicle fleets for Canada's army:

Canada's Army is emerging as the clear winner in equipment purchases. It has received approval to spend more than 5 billion Canadian dollars ($4.9 billion) on several new fleets of armored vehicles, while an Air Force program to buy search-and-rescue planes and the Navy's efforts to spend billions on new vessels are in limbo.

The ongoing war in Afghanistan, and the fact that the service has become the main force called on by government for both international and domestic deployments, has bolstered its support, say analysts and officers.

"The Army is the major beneficiary of money available for equipment, largely because of Afghanistan and presumably because of an expectation they'll be called up more in the future for other missions," said defense analyst Martin Shadwick, a strategic studies professor at York University in Toronto.

Shadwick said the Army has been high profile over the last decade. It has been in Afghanistan, and is the first service the Canadian government usually turns to for international missions, as well as domestic deployments to deal with natural disasters such as forest fires and flooding.

Military officers privately agreed with that assessment, noting that although the Air Force has received new aircraft in the last three years, those planes have a transport role that would be used largely to support Army deployments. Canada has purchased and received four C-17s and is receiving the first of its new fleet of C-130Js starting in May.

. . .

Shadwick said one advantage that the Army has over the other two services is that the equipment it needs is readily available, unlike the construction of vessels that can take up to a decade.

"The lead time on acquiring a Close Combat Vehicle is relatively fast compared to purchasing ships or even compared to some Air Force projects," Shadwick said.

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, research communications officer, with files courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.