OTTAWA - An independent analysis has concluded the waves of federal budget cuts washing over National Defence will run deeper and likely be more painful than advertised by the Harper government.
The report tallies up the cumulative effect of a series of initiatives and estimates as much as $2.5 billion is expected to be carved out of defence by 2015.
The research paper, written for the Centre for Security and Defence Studies at Carleton University, is believed to be the first comprehensive snapshot of the impact of the federal government's two-tracked deficit reduction plans.
It warns that accounting changes and a reluctance to cut troops and capabilities means budget savings will have to be found elsewhere.
Dave Perry, an anaylst with the Conference of Defence Associations who penned the report, says no matter how much the Conservatives say they like the military, they're cutting it just as hard as previous governments.
But a spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay says the government is asking the department to ensure taxpayers are getting value for their dollars and that the changes will make the Canadian Forces more efficient.