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Military keeping low profile during 2010 Olympics

Military keeping low profile during 2010 Olympics
By: Jennifer Ditchburn, THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA - The Canadian military wants to keep a low profile when it comes
to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and that includes keeping its
budget in check and out of the headlines.

Vice-Admiral Dean McFadden, commander of Canadian military operations at
home, underlined to a Commons committee Monday that "Operation
Podium" has so far stayed within its budget of $212 million for
specific military duties.

The federal and provincial governments recently revealed that the
overall security budget for the Games had soared to $900 million, from
what was originally estimated at $175 million.

"The (military) budget has remained $212 million since 2007," McFadden
told MPs, stressing that he has, "no doubt we'd do what was necessary to
make sure the games were safe."

McFadden emphasized that security is mainly the RCMP's show. The
forces have been tasked with planning and managing security exercises,
lending logistical support, and surveillance. It will work with NORAD to
patrol the skies for unwanted visitors.

"We are in a support role to a lead agency, the RCMP, which sets the
security requirements. Our contribution, certainly the physical
presence, of the (Canadian Forces) and the action we take, will be low

Potential security problems such as protesters and human trafficking are
issues dealt with by the police, McFadden told MPs. Still, 4,500 troops
have been earmarked for possible deployment to the Games,
including special operation forces. There will also be military
helicopters, frigates and patrol ships in the mix. CF-18 fighter
planes will be on call through NORAD.

While McFadden downplayed the visible presence of the military at the
Games, he trumpeted the security "architecture" the military is
building to manage them.

An Integrated Security Unit operating out of Richmond, B.C. is already
functioning 24 hours a day. The unit has already done two simulation
exercises, dubbed "bronze" and "silver," which included 100 government

McFadden called the exercises "brutal," and said the military relished the
opportunity to find out where there were possible weaknesses in planning.

"This truly is a whole of government effort that is improving
government structure and planning amongst departments, and with our US
partners, and moving us all towards a more considered and deliberate
method for preparing for security events of this or a similar nature," he


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