About halfway through the project, as I understand it, the deputy minister of the Department of National Defence decided that his part of the team would leave the process and General Leslie carried on with the remainder of the military team.
So it's not surprising in these kinds of things, when you start to suggest big complicated changes to complex organizations, that there's going to be strife. There has to be strife.
The thing that is interesting to me is this assessment of the state of the defence establishment, the armed forces and the department. They're two separate organizations in law. They're not joined in any way except in carrying out policies. This study should have been done before we went to Afghanistan or right as we were going into Afghanistan. The Canadian Forces and the headquarters were not prepared to go to war. That's why General Hillier started making his transformation, so he could get the armed forces ready to go to war, but what happened as the war continued, in the civil side especially, was the sense that it was business as usual and we'd just patch on more staff and more people to take care of this inconvenience of the war in Afghanistan.
I toy with the idea that it would have been interesting and we would have had a purposeful transformation of the Canadian Forces and the department and maybe lots of other parts of the government, if in 2003, 2004, or 2005, the government—whichever government happened to be around at that time—had said to the Minister of National Defence, “You're going to war, you're going to take on this business, and you're not getting any more resources. So go around your own department and go find them. Go find the efficiencies and use those efficiencies to carry on the war.”
But that's not what we did. As I said, they said, okay, we're going to war, and then grudgingly, incrementally, reluctantly, people started patching on a little bit of this, and we changed an idea and we're going to have the whole government concept...we'll patch on another piece and so on.
So you end up now with this large organization that is now going to be scaled back, but we hadn't done the transformation, not for fighting the kinds of wars some anticipate we're going to be in. So we haven't applied the lessons of the operation to what we're doing.