That's National Defence Headquarters for the acronym challenged, the home of the paperpushers that run our military, just across from the Rideau Centre in lovely downtown Ottawa. It seems though that all is not lovely between Canada's top soldier, Gen. Rick Hillier, and his new political boss, retired Brigadier-General and defence lobbyist, and new Minister of National Defence, Gordon O'Connor.
Jim Travers reports in the Toronto Star this morning that Hillier and O'Connor are already butting heads. Apparently Hillier wants to build a lighter, more flexible, operations-oriented military, while O'Connor wants to stop the Rushkies from taking West Berlin, and by lots of expensive equipment Hillier doesn't want from his defence contractor friends. Here's an excerpt:
Dismissed as a sausage general, O'Connor is accused of dragging the military back to a time when troops that weren't peacekeeping were in barracks and officers like him sat behind desks in Germany planning a never-to-be, set-piece confrontation with the Soviet Union.
Ouch, snap. Defence isn't one of the five priorities so Harper won't let O'Connor can't talk, and it isn't appropriate for Gen. Hillier to speak publicly. Still, things must be interesting behind the scenes on Colonel By Drive.
I know one thing for sure though. I wouldn't want to get into a scrap with Rick Hillier.
There won't be a word about it in today's throne speech, but Afghanistan isn't the only conflict overshadowing a new government trying to make a good first impression. At defence headquarters, a military desperate to move forward is pinned down between the opposing forces of past and future as they fight a quiet but deadly civil war.
Bluntly, the immensely popular Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier and his poorly regarded political master are butting heads.