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View Harjit S. Sajjan Profile
Lib. (BC)
The investments we're making are for the mission we just completed in Mali. We do have some support personnel still there, as well as a tactical airlift capability that we're providing out of Uganda.
The vision that we have put forward is a whole-of-government approach. Rather than just saying what we're willing to provide and letting the UN then figure out where it's needed, it's always been—whether it's part of a coalition or even NATO—us asking what those needs are and how we can provide support. That's why the smart pledge concept was very important, because it's what was asked for by the United Nations.
I would remind the committee of what the smart pledge concept is all about. All the missions have high-level capabilities that only select nations can provide. Through that, if one nation is providing all the high-level capability, it can become a burden to one nation. Smart pledge is about nations coming together on a one-year rotation, so that a mission will always have that capability.
When we stepped up for the first pledge there, we worked with the United Nations and Romania to bring them online. I've had discussions with the two undersecretary-generals at the UN regarding which nations will be coming forward next. The goal is to get four to five nations to sign up, so we can get into a rotation. Once we have the confidence through the UN that we'll have four to five nations as a part of it, then we as a government can consider getting into a rotation.
In those particular areas, it shows what capabilities can be impacted. Medical evacuations, it may seem, don't have a direct impact on operations. However, as you and the committee were briefed, how we move blood is related to the distance that we could fly, because it wasn't in a helicopter's range. It was related to the transportation of blood. Having the medical personnel on board allowed the patrols on the ground to go further. That was a way of actually making the mission far more effective. That's how we passed that experience on to Romania.
We're now working with the United Nations on some of the other smart pledge concepts. As I have stated, we need to make sure that the mission is right, the troops that we have provided are going to have the right impact, and they will make the decisions accordingly, because at the end of the day, this is about improving the mission, not just about us getting a check in a box.
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