Everybody is usually down on the Canadian military for various reasons, but don’t forget that most of what they’ve got is pretty good. This proposal, to form a 750-man special forces unit, seems to make sense given the limited size of the Canadian forces.
Recruitment for the regiment, whose soldiers would perform a role similar to those of the U.S. army’s Green Berets, has now started. The new formation, to be called the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, will be in addition to the Joint Task Force 2 commando unit based in Ottawa.
This move is apparently separate from a Conservative proposal to form an airborne battalion, so the danger of duplication of effort exists.
Elite troops are a growth business in the Canadian Forces. JTF2 is also being expanded and the military has created an overall command that includes all such related units. That formation, dubbed Canada Special Operations Command, will grow to between 2,200 and 2,500 personnel over the next five to six years.
But some critics suggest the Canadian Forces, which currently has 53,000 trained personnel, will have difficulty sustaining that size of a special operations force. There is also concern that regular units, some now currently under-strength, will be stripped of their best people.
Losing top-notch folks is a common (and real) complaint of regular forces when it comes time to beef up the special forces. But the nature of today’s conflicts has shown that even the US special forces, which are pretty substantial, are stretched by the demand. Special forces will have plenty to do in the years to come, and with a very limited military, this is probably a good move by Canada.