Why is Reserves 2000 necessary?

The end of the Cold War resulted in drastic reductions to the defence budget, to the extent that by the mid-1990s defence planners in Ottawa made plans to cut the Militia in half.

This would have removed Militia units from many Canadian communities and closed many armouries.

At the same time defence headquarters and other overheads within the Department of National Defence were to remain and even to grow in some cases.

Led by Honorary Colonels from across the nation and buttressed by politicians from all levels of government, other community leaders, academics and retired members of Militia units, Reserves 2000 was created to refute the planned reductions.

Over a period of time this was accomplished and today the Militia is still found in over 100 Canadian towns and cities.

Fortunately for the Canadian Army the Militia was available to provide augmentation for the war in Afghanistan.

The full-time regular force is so small that it was hard pressed to provide continuing rotations of new units to that conflict.

Militia soldiers volunteered to fill the gaps in the regular establishment to the degree that fully 20% of most rotations were made up of reservists.

At the same time many reservists also filled empty positions in Canada left by the need to find so many qualified regulars for Afghanistan. Had the plans of the mid-1990s gone forward, all this would have been impossible.

Despite the demonstrated value of the Militia in the first conflict fought by Canada since Korea, the threat of amalgamations, closures and downsizing has never entirely disappeared from the agenda of defence planners.

On several occasions in recent years Reserves 2000 has acted successfully to maintain a viable Militia, and it fully expects to do so again.

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