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The Procurement Committee

Posted on 24 Jun 2022 @ 2:04am by Lieutenant (N) Rhys Finch
Edited on on 24 Jun 2022 @ 7:53am

Episode: Our Path
Location: MARPAC HQ, CFB Esquimalt, Victoria, British Columbia
Timeline: Early Spring 2024

OOC: Trigger Warning: The Mention of the proper pronunciation of Leftenant is throughout this post.

[ Early Spring 2024 ]
[ CFB Esquimalt ]
[ Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters ]

"Leftenant Finch?" Commodore Jean Chabot's Adjutant approached him from down the hall. Lieutenant Rhys Finch looked up to the Acting Sub-Lieutenant who was standing a few feet away. She was still wearing a facemask.

Finch looked back down at the hardwood floor's age for being over one hundred and twenty-two years old. He had learned about the history and other Royal Canadian Navy installations across the country during his time as a Naval Cadet at the Royal Military College, "Yes, Sub-Leftenant?"

"The Commodore can see you now," the adjutant waited for him to stand up. He picked up his hat and held it to his lapel while he rose to his feet. He then slipped the hat underneath his arm while he followed her down a series of corridors and a backroom until they reached the Commodore's Office. His civilian secretary then rang them through with the buzzer underneath her desk to notify them that Lieutenant Finch had arrived.

The buzzer sounded and the door unlocked. The Adjutant held the door open for Lieutenant Finch to walk through. He entered the office like an automatonesqe naval officer that he was trained to do. He stood at attention waiting for the Commodore to address him. He wasn't expecting anyone else in this meeting but he saw a well-dressed civilian in a three piece seat already sitting down around a circular table. Commodore Chabot himself had taken a phone call.

A moment later the Commodore hung up the phone and looked to Lieutenant Finch in a light Quebecois variation of the French accent, "At ease, Leftenant. Please make yourself comfortable." The Commodore rose to his feet from behind his desk. By the time he stood in front of the Lieutenant he had his arm reached out, "You're probably curious why I've called you today, Leftenant?"

Finch stood at ease and nodded his head, "Yes, Commodore."

"I've read your master's dissertation multiple times since the Commandant of the RMCC is a personal friend of mine. We graduated from there together in 1992," the Commodore then gestured to the table, "Please have a seat."

Finch moved and made his way to the circular table where the man in the suit stood.

"Oh right, I haven't introduced you to the Assistant Deputy Minister Responsible for the Royal Canadian Navy... where are my manners." The Commodore gestured over when he pulled out a chair for himself and sat down, "You can call him Mr. Stephen Bethany."

"Mister Bethany," Finch addressed and sat down at the table with the Commodore and Mr. Bethany.

"Leftenant," Mr. Bethany nodded.

The Commodore looked over to see that his Adjutant was still in the room then he looked back over to both men, "Do either of you want any sort of refreshments during our meeting?"

"Yes, Commodore. I'll take a coffee," Lieutenant Finch replied following proper Royal Canadian Navy tradition if a superior offers a beverage you'd take it. The man in the suit, Mr. Bethany shook his head no.

The Commodore looked over at the Acting Sub-Lieutenant, "Leftenant, could you please get Maggie outside to bring us three coffees. And then come back in here and listen to our conversation."

The Adjutant nodded her head and departed the room briefly to let the secretary know that beverages were required.

"I said I didn't want a coffee," Mr. Bethany protested.

"It's not for you. It's for my Adjutant," the Commodore replied and then looked back to Finch, "Where were we, Leftenant Finch?"

"You were talking about reading my dissertation, Commodore, sir."

"Yes. Splendid, nothing passes you, Leftenant." The Commodore pointed at the silver pin on his lapel to his progression, "That's why you will be one of the youngest submarine commanders in RCN history but don't hold me to that, Leftenant Finch."

"No, definitely won't hold you to that at all, Commodore."

"It was a great paper even the Ministry of National Defence thinks so. Isn't that right, Mr. Bethany?"

"It was very well written, where did you learn how to write an argument like that, Lieutenant?"

The two Canadian sailors, a Commodore, and a Lieutenant looked at each other and then back to Mr. Bethany, "Apologies, no disrespect meant, Leftenant."

"Of course not," Commodore Chabot dismissed it and he went back into it, "What I'm about to tell you is classified and National Security sensible, Leftenant. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Commodore, sir."

"Good," Chabot looked over to Mr. Bethany, "Mr. Bethany?"

"I don't want to speak ill of the Victoria-class submarine," Mr. Bethany continued, "I know that Leftenant Finch here has served in the Submarine Service for the past seven years. However, as mentioned in your dissertation they aren't designed at all for extreme weather conditions if it's in the Pacific or in the Arctic Ocean. With that being said with your paper, we're treating it as a Defence White Paper and being circulated around Ottawa and Defence Experts across the country for evaluation and a lot of them are saying the same thing, Leftenant Finch. We need a new submersible. A nuclear-powered submarine that is capable of these extreme weather conditions and able to patrol through the ice pack of the Arctic. That being said, the Government has entered into preliminary discussions with the Americans to spearhead a replacement project-"

"-which is where you come into play, Mr. Finch," the Commodore interjected. "The Russian Federation and the People's Navy have been violating Canadian territorial waters in the Arctic for the past five years after obtaining information from military intelligence satellites. We can't patrol our waters like that. We need something to go under all that ice. Diesel-electric as you mention in your dissertation does very little when it comes to this. "

Mr. Bethany continued off on the Commodore's point, "There's a complicated history of Canada's procurement of nuclear-powered capable submarines. In the 1980s' the Mulroney Ministry tried to build ten submersibles here at home. Unfortunately, Chernobyl disasterspooked the gen-pop and fear crept in with the increasing tension of the Warsaw Pact. Notwithstanding, Commodore, Leftenant, among them was the United States opposition and blocking of the sale of nuclear propulsion tech to Canada. However, we feel with the new administration and global affairs, Canada has a better chance of the procurement of nuclear-powered submarines from our American counterparts in the United States Navy. Our preliminary conversations are pretty preliminary at the moment but we're hopeful that there won't be a repeat of this."

"I did write about bilateral defence measures that should take place to control Canadian and American interests in the Arctic," Leftenant Finch brought up into the conversation.

"You did and that's where you come in," Commodore Chabot smiled, "I have brought it up with the chain of command and they're bringing it up to the United States Navy. As you are aware our Commanding and Executive Officers are cross-trained with the Royal Navy, the United States Navy and the Royal Dutch Navy amongst various other Commonwealth Navies across the world. Nothing is concrete as of yet, but we are making arrangements for this to be possible. I know that you most likely be placed on a Los Angeles-class submarine but with your skillset and experience with weapon systems, you'll be on one of the Virginia's as a lot of the hardware and software is the same. We most likely be getting the LAs from the Americans but we're yet to see if that deal goes anywhere. But nonetheless, the USN will train you up to be one of our finest commanders in the fleet today."

With that the adjutant had entered the room with the coffees and the information that was above her pay grade had been discussed, "Think about it, Leftenant Finch. We'll be in touch in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you'll be headed to Ottawa with Mr. Bethany here. You'll be the military liaison officer for the Submarine Replacement Procurement Defence Committee."

"Ottawa, sirs?"

"Hope you like rubbing elbows with bureaucrats because I don't," Chabot shot Mr. Bethany a grin.


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