JSS capability gap

I was the communications officer on HMCS Protecteur when she was deployed to East Timor in 1999. While we did yeoman work supporting forces ashore with fuel, stores and an ‘RnR’ platform for allied troops, our many shortcomings were painfully obvious. We could not communicate with our own troops ashore, moving stores from the dispersal area to the flight deck were a painful process, and without a well-deck our two underpowered LCVP's were relegated to taxi service. Despite these handicaps the ships company did an excellent job completing their tasks. At the time we were briefed that the need for replacement was recognized in Ottawa and a new ship was being fast tracked and that there would be a hull in the water by 2005.

We are now three years adrift from that RV and the whole project seems to be standing into danger and going aground for good. What we really need is not this four-headed monster that wants to satisfy everyone but will more than likely satisfy no one. We need a dedicated AOR that supplies food fuel and stores, automated to the max and that is it! Get four of them and be done with them. Then call the Australians and get on board with their LHD project and we can have the ship that will be able to support forces ashore, provide disaster relief and a myriad of other duties. We would also have a vessel that the army would be more willing to utilize and adapt to because the navy has adapted as well. It would be dedicated to the littoral and not be dragged away at the most inopportune time to support a task group.

I feel that this is the best way that the navy can serve the needs of the fleet while at the same time be a productive contributor to the collective defence of Canada.