Aaron Hynes writes that there is no ‘navy’ to rename. Of course, and that's the point the Senate is seeking to correct because, unlike rarities like Aaron who have no problem belonging to a Canadian Forces 'element', the vast majority want to be identified with a traditional service, like the navy or air force. These traditional designations can easily be accommodated within the existing unified Canadian Armed Forces and its integrated functional command structure.
It is also very unfortunate that the writer completely misunderstands what would happen if these designations are officially brought back. Those wearing an air force uniform, but currently serving on a ship flying helicopters for example, would not find themselves out of place in the RCN. They would obviously belong to the RCAF within the unified Canadian Forces, even though they would be attached to a naval unit, in the same way that soldiers who belong to a particular regiment, find themselves serving under a different operational unit if posted to Afghanistan. What service identity you belong to, has nothing to do with what Command, what Task Force, what operational unit, you happen to be serving at the time. He either does not understand this, or he is deliberately spreading misinformation in the article he wrote and we attach below:
Recently, the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence passed a motion calling on the government to change the name of the Maritime Command of the Canadian Forces (CF) to either "Canadian Navy" or "Royal Canadian Navy."
The intention behind this motion is laudable, and is doubtless appreciated by many former and current naval personnel who are passionate about the history and traditions of the service, including this writer.
However, the recommendation of the Senate committee is based on an incorrect supposition — namely, that the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act of 1968 changed the name of the Royal Canadian Navy to Maritime Command. What really happened in 1968 is that Canada ceased to have a navy per se. The name "Canadian navy" is still used colloquially by Canadians and as a brand by the Department of National Defence to refer to Canada’s warships and their crews. However, those ships and personnel belong to no single organizational entity within the Canadian Forces.
Maritime Command is not a navy by another name. It is an authority that exercises control over certain functions of the Forces. Maritime Command (MARCOM) does not control any ships or personnel engaged in military operations at sea. While deployed on operations, the CF’s ships and crews belong to Canada Command (CANCOM) when in Canadian waters or airspace, or Canadian Expeditionary Force Command when outside Canadian waters or airspace.
Even the admirals commanding the Atlantic and Pacific fleets do not belong to MARCOM. They actually belong to Joint Task Force (Atlantic) and Joint Task Force (Pacific), both of which fall under the authority of CANCOM.
Moreover, MARCOM commonly exercises authority over helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, the installations at which these aircraft are based, and the personnel who operate and maintain them, all of whom wear the uniform of the air element of the Forces. MARCOM also has authority over many personnel who wear the uniforms of the air and land elements while serving as intelligence officers, cooks, logisticians, medics, etc. These personnel, who cling fervently to their own "air force" and "army" customs and traditions, would be very unhappy to suddenly find themselves in the Royal Canadian Navy.
The Canadian Forces simply does not have any organizational entity to which the name "Canadian Navy" or "Royal Canadian Navy" can be properly applied. Of course, the names army, navy and air force will always be used informally by those who proudly wear the land, sea and air uniforms of the Canadian Forces. That is how it should remain.
Aaron Hynes is a former naval officer who currently works as a policy adviser in the Senate.