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The Demographics of Force Generation: Recruitment, Attrition and Retention of Citizen Soldiers

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Abstract

People are the armed forces’ most precious asset: the people soldiers serve at home and abroad, and the people who work for the military. Professional armed forces are quite systematic about selecting, training and developing their people. Doing so takes a long time and is very expense; so, the armed forces have a keen interest in recruits who are the most likely to succeed and the least likely to defect. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) had thus far done better than most sizeable allies at not trading off quality for quantity. As the Canadian population ages, the labour market tightens and the public service becomes less competitive on compensation, however, the CAF is finding itself challenged on recruiting and personnel. In an increasingly diverse society, one way to compensate is to ensure that the Government of Canada, and the Department of National Defence as its single-largest employer, is positioned as the employer of choice that models equality of opportunity for all Canadians. As this chapter explains, there are good demographic, functional, legal, political, social reasons for doing so. The CAF faces a predicament in this regard: on the one hand, it already fares better than most allies in this regard; on the other hand, incremental progress notwithstanding, the composition of the CAF lags the pace at which Canadian demographics are changing.

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Fig. 11.1

(Source Canadian Armed Forces, Employment Equity Statistics, 2016)

Fig. 11.2

(Source Statistics Canada, 2012; Canadian Armed Forces, 2002)

Fig. 11.3

(Source Statistics Canada, 2013)

Fig. 11.4

(Source Department of National Defence, 2002; Statistics Canada, 2007)

Fig. 11.5

(Source Canadian Armed Forces, Employment Equity Statistics, 2016)

Fig. 11.6

(Source Office of the Auditor General, 2016, p. 108)

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This chapter draws in part on Leuprecht (2009, 2010, 2014, 2015).

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Leuprecht, C. (2020). The Demographics of Force Generation: Recruitment, Attrition and Retention of Citizen Soldiers. In: Juneau, T., Lagassé, P., Vucetic, S. (eds) Canadian Defence Policy in Theory and Practice. Canada and International Affairs. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-26403-1_11

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