DND Internal Report Shows Concerns over Military Cadet Program

An internal National Defence report has questioned the need for the military’s cadet program, highlighting that it has recently swollen with managers whose salaries consume the majority of the budget, which is supposed to be used to support youth. Essentially, the cadet program is aimed to promote the youth aged 12 to 18 to participate in various activities while learning about the Canadian Forces. There are approximately 52,000 cadets in units across the country.

However, the evaluation conducted by an internal auditor of the Department of National Defence revealed that the cost for the cadet program has increased by 40 per cent in last 20 years, while the number of participants decreased by 15 per cent. The evaluation approved by DND’s Chief of Review Services also examined the Junior Canadian Rangers (JCR) program, which is for youth in remote and isolated communities. The program received high marks, as it was underlined that “there is evidence of need for the JCR Program and less evidence of continued need for the Cadet Program.” Estimates of almost 3,700 young people are currently enrolled in JCR.

DND is tasked to control and supervise both programs, even though the cadets or JCRs are not members of the Canadian Forces. The report quoted that the annual cadet budget in 2011 was around $239 million, out of which $148 million was used to pay benefits to managers and administrators. The CRS evaluation revealed that “the costs of running the program are 40 per cent higher than 20 years ago, even though there are 15 per cent fewer cadets today than in 1992.”

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