Feds to redirect $1.2B from Armed Forces

Canadian Armed Forces soldiers from the Calgary Highlanders pack their gear in Calgary, Alta, on...

Canadian Armed Forces soldiers from the Calgary Highlanders pack their gear in Calgary, Alta, on Saturday June 22, 2013. (Gavin John/QMI Agency)

Daniel Proussalidis, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 12:12 PM ET

OTTAWA - The military plans to move $750 million to $1.2 billion a year from its office overhead, and re-direct the money to the actual work of soldiers, sailors and air force personnel.

"That's ambitious, and we have a five-year program," said a senior defence official Monday after unveiling their Defence Renewal Charter to squeeze administrative costs by 2017-18.

One official says that will give commanders the option of "more sea days for the Navy, more air flying hours for the Air Force and more training opportunities for the Army."

Officials stress the size of the Canadian Forces will remain the same, with around 68,000 personnel.

The military is dealing with $2.1 billion in cuts by 2015, outlined in the last year's federal budget.

So, it's responded by figuring out how to kick pencil-pushers out of headquarters in Ottawa, synchronizing its training, updating maintenance systems, streamlining its contracting and reducing property management costs to make up for the smaller budget.

Part of the plan includes re-assigning as many as 4,800 people within the military to new jobs, even if it means moving them to a new base or retraining them, to get them out of desk jobs.

In cases when people can't be reassigned, they could lose their jobs.

The plan responds in part to Prime Minister Stephen Harper's call for "more teeth and less tail" in the military.

Officials acknowledge they're also implementing some of the recommendations made by retired general Andrew Leslie in 2011 to reduce the military's overhead costs.


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