Canada should get out of is cold war mindset and move the majority of its warships from Halifax to the B.C. coast in response to the Chinese navy’s aggressive military buildup, say defence analysts.
The U.S. government has already announced its plan to put 60 per cent of its naval assets on its west coast by 2020 as part of its plan to make the 21st century “America’s Pacific Century” — a term coined by former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
The Canadian military’s tiny fleet of warships is split up on a 60-40 basis favouring the Atlantic coast, with seven frigates and two destroyers in Halifax compared to five frigates and one destroyer in Esquimalt.
China is expanding its own naval fleet and showing greater assertiveness in its maritime disputes with its neighbours
When submarines, maritime patrol and supply vessels are included there are a total of 18 vessels assigned to Halifax, where approximately 5,000 military and 2,000 civilian personnel are located, and 15 to Esquimalt, where roughly 4,000 military and 2,000 civilian employees are stationed.
Analyst David McDonough said Ottawa should reverse the emphasis, with at least 60 per cent of the frigates and destroyers in B.C.
He also argued that once the submarine fleet is fully operational two of the three subs in service (one will always be in the Esquimalt dry dock undergoing repairs and upgrades) should be based out at Esquimalt.
“Nowadays, the threat on the East Coast is pretty mild, whereas the Pacific is a more dangerous environment,” McDonough, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of B.C.’s political science department, said in an interview Friday.
Full article: Navy should shift warships to West Coast in response to China’s aggressive military buildup, defence analysts say (National Post)