Letter to CDS: Joint Personnel Support Unit concerns

2 October 2015

General J.H. Vance
Chief of the Defence Staff
Department of National Defence
National Defence Headquarters
Major General George R. Pearkes Building
13th Floor, South Tower
101 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2


General Vance:

I am writing to you today to follow up on our conversation on 17 August 2015 regarding the Joint Personnel Support Unit project you had initiated and to share with you my concerns and observations.

As you are aware, the JPSU was created to offer programs to support and enable mentally and physically injured members to resume their military careers or to transition to civilian life.

In August 2013, my Office launched a preliminary assessment into potential issues at the JPSU.  In October 2013, we conveyed a number of concerns to the Chief of Military Personnel (CMP) with respect to the insufficient staffing and training of personnel at the JPSU.  At that time, the Department of National Defence had stated plans to conduct an evaluation of the military personnel management system, including JPSU and we made the decision to await the Department’s finding.

In June 2015, anticipating that the departmental review would be nearing completion, we discovered that the work had been postponed and would not be released until 2017.   Being of the opinion that this work should not wait, my Office requested that available information be sent to us so that we could continue the investigation.  Minister Kenney ordered the Department to release the data to my Office as the Department refused to release the information when we made the request.

In July 2015, we received a copy of the draft working document related to the “Evaluation of the Governance of Military Personnel Management” and my Office committed publically to looking into the JPSU over the next six months.

On 7 August 2015, we learned that you had initiated a broad review of the JPSU program, its mandate, organizational structures and relationships and delivery mechanisms.  Their first interviews were slated for 9 August 2015 and the timeframe for completion for the project was no later than 30 September 2015.

Given that you directed a review of the JPSU program, our Office was limited in what activities we could undertake concurrently.  At our request, we were briefed by CMP staff and kept informed of developments as the review progressed however we were not permitted to attend any of the interviews/sessions.  I feel this is contrary to the discussion you and I had and we would have welcomed a more collaborative approach.

Additionally, I now understand that your review is complete and direction has been given to implement the recommendations.  We have no visibility on these recommendations, nor have we been fully briefed on the methodology used to get to this end-state.  Given the circumstances around this, please be advised we will be conducting a review of the JPSU as committed to our constituents.  We will forward to you our work plan including timelines.  I ask for full cooperation from your chain of command to ensure access to the information and staff we will require.



Gary Walbourne

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