Canada’s elite troops and their families have faced a “disjointed” level of social support from the military — and in some cases implemented their own programs to cope with the hardship and uncertainty of their lives.
The findings are contained in a survey conducted by the army’s special-forces operations regiment, which includes the highly trained JTF-2 counter-terrorism unit.
“With the stand-up (Special Operations Forces) units it has become apparent that there is a requirement to provide support to not only the unit itself but to the families,” says a briefing note prepared for the regiment’s former commander, Maj.-Gen. Mike Day.
The document, which provides a rare glimpse of the travails of the country’s most exclusive military formation, was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.
The review was initiated by special forces, but the Director of Military Family Services, which manages and funds social program in the defence community, joined.
It quickly became apparent the ultra-secrecy that surrounds the regiment and its missions was paralyzing its soldiers and their families. Over the years, many were afraid to ask for social services — or seek help — for fear of inadvertently violating operational security.