Force Structure or Forced Structure?

The 1994 White Paper on Defence and the Canadian Forces in the 1990s

Sean M. Maloney May 12th, 2004

In this article Sean M. Maloney maintains that the 1994 White Paper on Defence was a vague policy document open to multiple interpretations. Based on a superficial and dubious analysis of the world situation of the day, and without detailed force structure to guide it, the 1994 White Paper was, according to the author, so flexible that it could be used as a basis to maintain the status quo rather than bring about dynamic or even transformational change in line with the new, post-Cold War era that began in the 1990s. The overly cautious approach of this White Paper tends to reflect bureau- cratic consensus rather than offer clear policy guidance and leadership. What would Canada’s force structure look like today, asks Maloney, had national security pol- icy-makers been forced to reveal to the Canadian public what it would take to maintain an armed forces capable of implementing the declared defence policy? How should Canada’s force structure relate to roles, missions and policy? The answers to these questions, the author believes, could inform policy-makers as they consider a defence and foreign policy review in 2004.

The following four key points emerge from this study:

  • Future defence policy must be based on a realistic vision of Canadian interests, the threats to those interests and the military forces needed to counter the threats. Use of vague language may be acceptable politically, but it smacks of deception, indecision and lack of leadership.

  • The Canadian forces must be able to operate across the spectrum of conflict in order to protect Canadian interests. Selecting one band in the spectrum and confining the force structure to that band does not serve national interests. Canada can and does fight wars; it is not merely a “peacekeeping” nation. Obsolete concepts of “peace” and “war” must be jetti- soned. They are products of the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first.

  • Policy-makers should be mindful of Canadian strategic traditions and how they affect national security policy and the development of the force structure necessary to carry out that policy. The principles of Saliency, Operational Influence and Forward Security will always be at work in the background, no matter what terminology is employed to describe Canada’s military operations.

  • The human factor is critical when the balance of com- mitments, rotations and deployment capability is con- sidered. An over-reliance on quantitative analysis overlooks this, which will have negative effects on recruitment, retention and morale. Failure to acknowl- edge force burnout is not only morally but also crimi- nally negligent and will, over time, increase the costs of defence beyond the apparent short-term “savings” accrued through the introduction of “efficiency” into the system.

Too many analysts believe that Canada “just got it right” in the 1990s, says the author. Maloney believes that Canada’s cultural tendency toward mediocrity need not be reflected in its foreign and defence policy, given what is at stake for us in the dangerous world of the twenty-first century. By confronting and addressing its mistakes, he concludes, Canada will gain better insight into the directions it must take in order to remain secure and economically prosperous. 

The 1994 White Paper on Defence, Canada’s only existing formal manifestation of defence policy, is a decade old. Designed as an interim policy during the first years of the post-Cold War world, the 1994 White Paper is generalized and tenta- tive. We have entered a new era since September 11, 2001, the al-Qaeda War, leaving the stabilization campaigns of the 1990s behind. Canadian policy- makers, the punditocracy and professional military personnel are, however, still struggling with force structuring and equipment issues that were not ade- quately dealt with after the 1994 White Paper became policy. Indeed, current debates in the media over the adequacy or “burnout” of the army, the protective capabilities of the 20-year-old Iltis jeep, the infamous Sea King EH-101 helicopter debacle and the adoption of the Stryker gun-over-armour vehicle are all symp- tomatic of the problem.

The accession of Paul Martin as prime minister and the impending changes to Canada’s national security policy apparatus will, some hope, be a cata- lyst for change in three areas: a new defence policy, a new foreign policy and a more rational approach to force structuring to implement these policies. Whether these three objectives are in fact achievable remains to be seen. That said, the 1994 White Paper continues to be formal policy, despite attempts to incrementally rationalize it with Defence Planning Guideline statements and other examples of structural “mid-course guidance.” If a new defence policy is formulated, it will in all likelihood require some change in force structure. If a new defence policy is not formulated, then the 1994 White Paper and its fundamental premises that were established in the period 1992–93 will remain policy well into the twenty-first century. Equipment acquisition will con- tinue to be a patchwork project and, without clear guidance, interservice rivalry will escalate and scarce resources will be wasted. Ad hoc responses to global crises that affect Canadian interests will continue, with increased prospect for unnecessary risk, cata- strophic failure and national humiliation. It is critical that we discuss in frank terms the basis for future force structure. If we do not, future Canadian govern- ments will be continuously saddled with geometrically expanding limitations on their ability to project Canadian military power.

Similarly, the recognition, by those commenting on national security issues, of the need for an inter- est-based national security policy and the means for its formulation has emerged in the past few years.1 Such a process is dependent upon a clear understand- ing of past performance. This study is intended to contribute to that understanding.

A caveat: the projected force structure described in this study takes into account what was known about the world and about the existing Canadian forces structure in the period 1993–94. It does not take into account technological, doctrinal or organizational developments that occurred in the late 1990s subsequent to the tabling of the 1994 White Paper or the change in the strategic environment after the events of September 11, 2001.

The 1994 White Paper on Defence

Background

The 1994 White Paper on Defence (hereafter “1994 White Paper”) was conceived during a period when the world order was extremely unsettled. A variety of possible world models were proposed, mostly by American academic theorists— Samuel Huntington, Joseph Nye and Francis Fukayama were three, while the Israeli academic Martin Van Creveld took the lead in attempting to formulate controversial “post-Clauswitzean” military theory. Media commentators like Thomas Friedman explored the new economic terrain that appeared after the collapse of communism, while the Internet emerged to alter life as we had known it a decade before.2 The withdrawal of Communist power and the retreat from the Cold War front lines left extremely violent regions in areas of Africa, Asia and even Europe. Theorists and commentators attempted to explain what they saw as bursts of ethnic conflict and determined that the nation-state was on its last legs. At the same time, utopian internationalists focused on the United Nations as the primary vehicle capable of driving through all of this mayhem and bringing stability. The apparent American acquiescence to UN legalities over the Gulf War of 1990–91 and its support of UN endeavours in Somalia were seen as indicators that the United Nations was perhaps the way of the future. The United Nations’ authorship of An Agenda for Peace and conceptual development of a number of tools for peace (peacemaking, peace build- ing, peace enforcement) also gave it a perceived authority in this area. In Canada, some saw this as a means to develop what they viewed as an independent policy by which to pursue their utopian aims and use the United Nations as a counterbalance to the American “hyperpower.”3

The new defence policy debate in Canada was instantly politicized. In broad terms, the utopian internationalist faction asserted that the Canadian forces should limit its capabilities to peacekeeping operations and eschew “warfighting.” “Warfighting,” the argument went, was a Cold War construct that was expensive—a capability that should not be retained or improved upon, and that could be safely disposed of since “peacekeeping” and arms control could solve all of Canada’s overseas security prob- lems. Another faction, led by pragmatic realists, argued that the future was uncertain and that a spectrum of capabilities, including “warfighting,” had to be retained (Gray 1993).

The process that produced the 1994 White Paper was similar to that which influenced the 1964 White Paper. A broad array of public opinion was canvassed: hear- ings were held and specialists from both factions pre- sented their best arguments. The newly formed Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) ensured that the views of a new faction of utopian internationalists were put forward. The Department of National Defence (DND) and DFAIT bureaucracies then set to work softening all the hard edges. During this process, detailed force structuring was eliminated from the draft documents. The result was the 1994 White Paper.

Premises

Cold War-era defence White Papers released in 1964, 1970 and 1987 (and the 1989 corollary of the 1987 White Paper) established that there were four areas through which Canadian defence activity was expressed:4

  • continental defence

  • NATO

  • UN peacekeeping

  • domestic operations

Essentially, each White Paper re-prioritized these four items according to the circumstances of the day and the proclivities of the incumbent government. There was, over the years, a constant decline in fund- ing for defence, starting in the mid-1960s. There was an implicit understanding within DND and the Canadian forces that the order of the four areas in defence White Papers was to be reflected in the allo- cation of resources. In some cases, lip service was paid and certain capabilities retained, but in all cases the decline in overall resources made the internal debate over how to implement the priorities more acute, particularly during the 1970s.

The 1964 White Paper emphasized the need to be able to intervene in areas peripheral to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Area while at the same time maintaining a strong deterrent force in North America and Europe. These objectives were generally achieved in the 1960s, though the forces structure was curtailed in key areas due to poor pol- icy coordination by the Pearson government. The 1970 White Paper shifted priority to domestic opera- tions: drastic cuts were made to continental defence and overseas forces, and little emphasis was placed on peripheral intervention. The priorities established by the Trudeau government were not recognized by world events, and on several occasions Canada was forced to intervene overseas and deter attacks on the NATO Area with a force structure that was sub- optimal. The 1987 White Paper was delayed in its production (it was supposed to be released two or three years earlier), which put it out of phase with American and British defence policies established in the early 1980s. The 1987 White Paper was ultimately undermined by international events before it could be fully funded and implemented (Bland 1997).

Was the 1994 White Paper a departure from the Cold War-era periodic re-ordering of priorities? Its primary manifestations of Canadian defence activity were:

  • protection of Canada

  • Canada-United States defence cooperation

  • participation in international security

In “Cold War speak,” this amounted to:

  • domestic operations

  • continental defence

  • UN and NATO operations

Note that there is no explicit prioritization of these areas in the 1994 White Paper. However, it is easy to detect a defensive posture: we will deal first with problems at home, then with problems overseas. This is not surprising: the problems at the Mohawk reserves of Akwesasne, Kanesatake and Kahnawake throughout 19905 and the resurgence of nationalism in Quebec were dominant events of the day (as dis- cussed in Armstrong 1995), and to ignore the possi- bility of “Bosnia in Canada” would have been sheer negligence on the part of the policy-makers and those influencing them. Indeed the 1994 White Paper attempted to define, in general terms, the tentative direction and influences of the new world disorder on the future allocation of defence resources.

First, the document acknowledged that the Cold War was over and used an inordinate amount of space discussing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and various arms control efforts: this was obviously intended to mollify those who wanted to believe that Canadian arms control efforts during the Cold War had paid off. The same self-congratulatory tone was applied to “Regional Conflict Resolution,” with the discussion being domi- nated by anodyne statements like “The Middle East peace process has also yielded progress.”

“International Security Concerns” were legion, according to the authors. “Global Pressures,” includ- ing refugees, failed states, overpopulation, environ- mental degradation, resource depletion, the “resurgence of old hatreds” and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, were seen as the main drivers of instability. If these “concerns” were meant to take the place of an estimate of the Cold War threat, the 1994 White Paper was inadequate in this area. This is important when one is examining the document from a force structuring perspective. In theory, some process by which interests are identified, threats to those interests evaluated and resources applied to deal with those threats should dominate. The 1994 White Paper provided the barest of bones and shied away from projecting into the future, its authors claiming that it was impossible to do so.

Indeed, after the cursory examination of the broadest possible range of “threats,” several reasons were advanced to explain why Canadian money could not be spent on the armed forces. “Globalization” (never defined in the 1994 White Paper) was part of the problem, apparently, but the main constraint was the federal debt and the simulta- neous need to maintain a good quality of life in Canada. Buried in this section of the document are the following lines:

The Department and the Canadian Forces have absorbed past reductions in a variety of ways. Canadian defence commitments have been revised, personnel levels cut back, oper- ations and maintenance budgets shrunk, defence infrastructure reduced, and capital programs cancelled or delayed…cuts will be deeper, and there will be more reductions, cancellations, and delays. In some areas, [DND and the CF] will do less [and] operate more efficiently to deliver elements of the policy outlined in this paper.6

This is all cunningly coded language: not all areas in which Canada used its military force could or would be funded. After identifying those areas, the authors offered no explicit prioritization. Flexibility was the main principle, which meant that there really could be no long-term policy derived from the 1994 White Paper, and that therefore no realistic and com- prehensive force structuring could occur to adapt to this new era. In theory, there should have been another analysis and tabling of defence policy within five years, and some form of incremental annual evaluation should have been undertaken immediately in 1994. In time, Defence Planning Guidance docu- ments were developed as a means of fulfilling this function, but they were no substitute for clearly expressed political guidance and leadership.7

We must confront the possibility that the govern- ment of the day did not value clearly expressed polit- ical guidance. In general, the political mindset seeks to retain as much flexibility as possible in order to stay in power. Making firm decisions on long-term policies in the face of possible opposition may be anathema to some personalities. A defence White Paper that says a variety of things to a variety of people is ideal — except to those who have to find a means to implement such “policies.”

If a “force structurer” were to pick up the 1994 White Paper and scan it for information in carrying out his or her job, what would he or she find? By decoding the language, he or she might be able to derive the following information from the three “pri- ority” sections.

Protection of Canada

Canada is big and rugged: we cannot afford to defend all of it. Resource protection is related to economic livelihood; therefore military forces must play a role alongside other government departments in protect- ing poachers from grabbing our natural resources and damaging our economy. There are also internal threats to Canadian sovereignty amongst the native peoples and in Quebec: Canada must be prepared to intervene with military force to ensure that the federal government is able to maintain control of the country in the face of any armed threat. Other government departments do not have the equipment, basing or training to handle the natural disasters that occur from time to time; therefore the Canadian forces will have to pick up the slack.

Canada-United States Defence Co-operation

Arms control is our primary means of ensuring a reduction in the nuclear threat to North America, not the allocation of resources to military functions like ballistic missile defence. At the same time, we have to find a way to demonstrate that we can participate in some fashion. If Canada does not collaborate with the United States on continental defence initiatives our sovereignty will be lost, since the Americans will do what they want regardless. Interoperability with American forces is key and will provide Canada with benefits elsewhere. If we do not help defend North America we will be unable to rely on American space power, which we need for overseas operations.

Participation in International Security

The United Nations will be Canada’s predominant expression of international concern for increased global stability. The United Nations is not a perfect institution. We wish it could be as effective as NATO in military operations and will try to make it so. NATO is a necessary evil and should be harnessed to support the United Nations, so we will contribute to UN and NATO operations but only in some areas—deterrence, peace- keeping—and will not fight wars unless the United Nations gives its approval or unless there is an outright attack on a NATO member.

Our hypothetical “force structurer” would be able to conclude, with no ambiguity whatsoever, that the Canadian government of the day was unwilling to pay for a force structure to do all of this and had to make compro- mises without expressly stating so in order to avoid politi- cal embarrassment with our allies and the Canadian people. To be fair and balanced, however, we would do well to recognize that the post-Cold War economic order altered the very basis of Canadian financial security. Without a stable budgetary situation, the federal govern- ment would be hard pressed to spend any money at all. Indeed, there is an argument to be made that Canada’s national debt was increasingly funded by potentially unre- liable sources in the early 1990s. If enough of those credi-

tors collapsed (perhaps due to the unreliable domestic situation vis-à-vis the Mohawks and/or Quebec), or oth- erwise generated turbulence in the economic structure that propped up Canadian governmental spending, Canada could conceivably have been plunged into an economic crisis rivalling the one it endured in the 1930s. Such a catastrophe would have made a globally deploy- able Canadian armed forces irrelevant.8

Force Structuring and the 1994 White Paper

Drawing on the generalized potential roles and missions for each section, a force structurer could easily have concluded that a number of core capabilities existed for each.

Protection of Canada

  • demonstrate, on a regular basis, monitoring and controlling capabilities within Canada’s territory, airspace and maritime areas of jurisdiction

  • assist other government departments in protecting fisheries, counter-drug efforts and environmental protection

  • conduct disaster relief

  • conduct national search and rescue operations

  • respond to terrorist incidents

  • respond to Aid to the Civil Power requests from the provinces

Naval and maritime air forces capable of operating on all three coasts (Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic) in all three dimensions (air, surface and subsurface), in addition to manned and unmanned sensor systems, would be necessary for the first two points. Search and rescue would require air transport capability over land and sea, while disaster relief and Aid to the Civil Power missions would be best handled by land units, which have the command and control apparatus and manpower. Anti-terrorism functions demand special operations forces.

Canada-United States Defence Cooperation

  • maintain interoperability with American air, sea and land forces so that the Canadian forces can contribute to the defence of North America

  • co-operate in the surveillance and control of North American air space

  • contribute to the acquisition and dissemination of ballistic missile warning

Forces for these endeavours would have included airborne, space-based, and surface-based sensors capable of monitoring missile and bomber attacks; anti-submarine forces to handle submarine-launched missile attacks; air forces capable of identifying and dispatching hostile aircraft; and air- or sea-portable land forces to confront any intruders attempting to establish a lodgment or otherwise challenge North American sovereignty.

Participation in International Security

  • assist DFAIT in conducting non-combatant evacu- ation operations

  • participate in multilateral operations anywhere in the world under UN auspices or in the defence of a NATO member

  • expand relationships with a variety of partners dealing with peacekeeping, confidence building and civil-military relations

  • support the verification of arms control agree- ments

Unlike the other two sections, that on international security included a detailed list of force commit- ments. In essence, Canada committed to having the following forces ready for global operations: a joint task force headquarters, a naval task group of four combatants and operational support ship (AOR) and maritime air support, three battle groups or a brigade group, a wing of fighter aircraft, and a squadron of transport aircraft. Portions of each of these were to be deployable within three weeks and full capability was to be available in three months. In addition, a stand- by battalion group for UN or NATO duty was to be immediately available. In “peacetime,” Canada com- mitted one ship to the Standing Naval Force Atlantic and another to Standing Naval Force Mediterranean, and aircrews were to serve with NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) component and NATO headquarters personnel.

The Canadian Forces 1990-94

What did the Canadian forces look like in 1994?

The Army

The Cold War-era brigade groups had dissimilar equipment and were slotted for different roles. The 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade and 5e Brigade Mechanisé du Canada (BMC) formed 1st Canadian Division. In this role, these two brigades were equipped with Leopard C-1 main battle tanks, M-113A2 armoured personnel carriers and M-109 self-propelled guns, all fully tracked vehicles. Flyover sets of equipment were starting to be pre-positioned in West Germany for this role. In effect, each brigade group was to consist of a reconnaissance (recce) squadron, a tank regiment, a self-propelled (SP) gun regiment, two mechanized infantry battalions and a service battalion. The 1 Canadian Brigade Group, based in western Canada, was mostly equipped with light armoured vehicles of the Armoured Vehicle General Purpose (AVGP) series plus the M-109A2 SP gun. The AVGPs were wheeled training vehicles and were not designed to be used for combat in a mid- to high-intensity war. The 5 Brigade had the AVGP vehi- cles in Canada but was being retrained to handle mechanized equipment. A fourth brigade group, called the Special Service Force, or SSF, was based in Ontario. It consisted of a mixed brigade that included the Canadian Airborne Regiment (a parachute light infantry battalion), a mechanized infantry battalion with AVGP, an armoured regiment with AVGP and Lynx recce vehicles, a mixed artillery regiment with M-109A2 SP guns and a battery of air-droppable towed 105mm guns, and a service battalion. The air- borne artillery battery, plus an airborne recce troop and the Airborne Regiment, when combined, formed the Canadian Airborne Battle Group (Fox 1988; Last 1988; O’Connor 1988).

It should be noted that a series of equipment pro- grams was initiated in the 1980s in response to the 1987 White Paper. The entire Canadian Army was suf- fering from “rust-out” since the Trudeau government had not provided enough money to replace aging equipment. The 1980s equipment projects were estab- lished for a new main battle tank, an armoured recce vehicle, a mechanized infantry combat vehicle and upgrades to self-propelled artillery. All of these proj- ects were cancelled, delayed or “rationalized” after 1989. Some equipment projects, however, were implemented before 1989: these included the TOW Under Armour anti-tank vehicle (a tracked anti-tank missile vehicle based on an M-113A2 hull) and the ADATS (Air Defence Anti-Tank System) with the missile system mounted on a tracked M-113A2 hull (Last 1988).

In the early 1990s the two brigades that made up 1st Canadian Division focused on mid- to high-intensity warfare for NATO operations in Europe. The SSF han- dled rapidly deployable commitments like NATO’s Allied Command Europe (ACE) Mobile Force (Land) and the UN Standby Battalion role. No. 1 Canadian Brigade Group was in transition: some units were slated to become divisional troops for 1st Canadian Division. In 1990, Canada’s overseas commitments involving com- bat troops outside of NATO Europe consisted of a bat- talion or regiment committed to UN duty in Cyprus every six months.

By 1994–95 the Army had changed drastically. The 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was by this time disbanded in the newly united Germany. The Canadian Airborne Battle Group was disbanded and the SSF was converted to 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. The 1 CBG became 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, with 5e Groupement Brigade Mechanisé du Canada established from 5e BMC. The post-Cold War brigade groups were standardized as much as pos- sible. The three armoured regiments each had a tank squadron plus two AVGP squadrons and a recce squadron. Some infantry companies were equipped with AVGP Grizzlies, while others had M-113A2 APCs. The artillery regiments all had tracked M-109A2 SP guns. There were two types of infantry battalion: mechanized and light. Each brigade had two mecha- nized infantry battalions and one light infantry battal- ion. One company of each light infantry battalion was a parachute-trained company.9

Maritime Forces

By 1994 the transition from the Cold War-era Mackenzie-class anti-submarine warfare destroyers (DDEs) and St. Laurent-class helicopter-carrying destroyers (DDHs) to the City-class Canadian Patrol Frigates (FFHs) was well underway. By 1995 all 12 FFHs would be operational. The New Shipboard Helicopter program to replace the 30-year-old Sea Kings had been aborted by the Chrétien government in 1993. The four existing DDH-280-class destroyers were in the process of being altered to include superior anti- aircraft and command and control capabilities (the TRUMP upgrade). Three 30-year-old O-class hunter- killer submarines were still in service but were nearing the end of their service life. A new class of ship, the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessel, had been designed and was being built. Two mine countermeasures ships were in service. Eighteen CP-140 Aurora Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) were also in service: three Arcturus MPAs, essentially emasculated Auroras, were also under procurement. By this time the C2SF Tracker MPA fleet had been removed from the order of battle. Three operational support vessels, again each at least 30 years old, were still in service. (Numbers drawn from Jockel 1999, chap. 3.)

Air Forces

Air Command acquired 122 CF-18 Hornet fighter air- craft, or approximately six squadrons worth, in the early 1980s. Two of these squadrons were deployed to West Germany and four to North America as part of Canada’s NORAD commitment. Two squadrons of CF- 5 Freedom Fighter aircraft were committed to NATO’s ACE Mobile Force (Air) during the Cold War, but this commitment ended sometime before 1994 and the CF-5s were put into storage or sold. No CF-18 squadrons replaced that commitment and the Germany-based squadrons returned to Canada. By 1994–95 the number of operational CF-18 squadrons was four. In terms of airlift, five CC-150 Polaris jet airliners replaced the aging 707 fleet in 1992, while some 32 CC-130 Hercules, some of which were acquired in the early 1960s, remained in service. Twelve 30-year-old Labrador search and rescue heli- copters continued on, accompanied by a dozen or so Buffalo turbo-prop tactical transports converted to search and rescue duty (Jockel 1999, chap. 4).

As for tactical aviation, the government chose to eliminate the Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, the Iroquois tactical transport squadrons and the Kiowa light recce helicopter units: all three machine types were acquired in the 1970s. In 1994–95 all were replaced with one type, the CH-146 Griffon, a heli- copter based on a civilian executive transport. There were one Chinook squadron and five mixed Iroquois/Kiowa squadrons, plus a number of reserve squadrons equipped with Kiowas. In the new order, there were five Griffon squadrons supporting ground forces and four “Combat Support” squadrons that handled utility and local search and rescue tasks at Air Command bases in Canada.10 Not all of these units were deployed in 1994–95: the transition to the new machine took time.

Reserve Forces

By 1990 the intended expansion of the reserves gen- erated by the 1987 White Paper was put on hold (Gervais 1992; Thompson 1992). At that time Militia (land force reserve) units were grouped into four Militia Areas that approximated (in numbers, not equipment or actual organization) five brigade groups. Naval reserve forces were geared to Cold War mobilization missions related to seaward defence and naval control of shipping, while the Air Reserve lost its Kiowa recce helicopters and Air Reserve Augmentation Flight missions that supported NATO operations in Europe. By 1994 the future roles and missions of Canada’s reserve forces were in question. Operationally, reservists were employed as individual augmentees to numerous domestic and global mis- sions between 1990 and 1994:11

Domestic operations

  • Operation FEATHER (Akwesasne) 1990

  • Operation SALON (Kanesatake and Kahnawake) 1990

Global operations

  • Operation CALUMET (MFO Sinai) entire period

  • Operation MARQUIS (UNTAC Cambodia) 1991–93

  • Operation SULTAN (ONUCA Nicaragua) 1989–91

  • Operation MATCH (ONUSAL El Salvador) 1991–94

  • Operation CAVALIER (UNPROFOR II Bosnia) 1992–95

  • Operation HARMONY (UNPROFOR I Croatia) 1992–95

  • Operation DELIVERANCE (UNITAF Somalia) 1993–94

Command and Control

In 1994–95 the Canadian forces command and con- trol structure was in flux. Prior to the 1990s, Canadian forces units were committed to alliance operations that had coalition headquarters for higher- command functions; these headquarters were single service rather than joint (two or more services). For example, 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade was part of NATO’s Central Army Group (CENTAG), which in turn reported to two other NATO headquarters responsible for operations in NATO’s Central Region. At sea and in North America, naval and air forces had similar arrangements. It was only in the late 1980s that ele- ments within the Canadian forces leadership realized that some form of expeditionary capability was required. Since there was no coalition or alliance headquarters for non-combatant evacuation opera- tions, for instance, Canada needed an operational- level joint headquarters to control operations involving more than one element. Operation BANDIT, a planned non-combatant evacuation operation con- ducted off Haiti in 1988; Operation VAGABOND, the United Nations Iran-Iraq Military Observer Group; and Operation MATADOR, the Canadian contingent for the United Nations Transition Assistance Group (UNTAG) in Namibia, demonstrated the need for joint operations control in expeditionary operations. In addition, on several occasions in the 1980s National Defence Headquarters was unable to control joint operations: it had become too reliant on coalition command structures overseas, structures to which Canadian officers were posted within a coalition framework but did not command. When National Defence Headquarters was confronted with two simultaneous crises in 1990, Operation SALON in Quebec (the Mohawk standoffs) and Operations FRIC- TION and SCIMITAR in the Persian Gulf, the need for a higher level of strategic joint command became evi- dent. The resultant structure, J-Staff, was formed on an ad hoc basis in 1990 and then retained after both crises subsided (Maloney 2002–03). In 1994 J-Staff remained in existence and 1st Canadian Division functioned as an interim joint force headquarters while a more permanent solution was researched. There was no deployable joint force headquarters as such, though elements of the divisional headquarters supported by the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and Signals Regiment and a Strategic Communications Regiment could act in this capacity on an interim basis (Garnett 2002–03).

Strategic Sensor Systems

During the Cold War, Canada deployed a number of strategic sensor systems geared to provide early warning in the event of a Soviet attack on North America. These included the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line, Mid-Canada Line and Pine Tree Line radar stations; NORAD-committed Canada-US AWACS and their crews; and the Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS). A ring of signals intelligence (sigint) stations in British Columbia, the Canadian Arctic, Newfoundland and Bermuda were the first line of defence. On the whole, these sensor systems were not structured for sovereignty surveillance operations in support of other government departments. By 1994 the only systems left were the DEW Line, which was being replaced with the Northern Warning System, and flights by AWACS radar and control aircraft. Greater reliance on American space-based systems, which were developed in the 1970s and 1980s, was the norm. Some of the sigint activities were shut down, reducing the amount of high-grade intelligence that Canada brought to the Canada-United Kingdom-United States (CANUKUS) intelligence-sharing “table.”

Basing

During the 1980s the Canadian forces had substantial infrastructure in North America and overseas to sup- port its operations. There were pre-positioned depots in Norway to support the Canadian Air-Sea Transportable (CAST) Brigade commitment until this was withdrawn in 1987. In West Germany, there were two large air fields (Baden Soellingen and Lahr). These facilities sup- ported Canadian global operations on the other side of the world: Baden and Lahr handled air traffic and other logistic matters for the Canadian UN contingents throughout the Middle East. Some of the forces deployed to fight in the 1990 Gulf War originated from units in West Germany and received substantial logistic support from Cold War stocks. By 1994 all Canadian facilities in Europe were closed and infrastructure in Canada was significantly reduced. Army units were progressively centralized into “superbases,” one for each brigade group. The Navy retained Halifax and Esquimalt, while Air Command retained its primary Cold War air bases with the exception of Summerside, Prince Edward Island.12

Special Operations Forces

The Canadian forces took on the direct action coun- terterrorism role from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Special Emergency Response Teams (SERT) organization in 1993. The new special opera- tions unit, JTF-2, was in the process of being manned while the 1994 White Paper was being formulated. The role of special operations forces within Canadian national security policy was also under development at that time.

Canadian Forces’ Overseas Commitments and Operations to 1994

While the 1994 White Paper was being developed, the Canadian forces embarked on a series of new commitments whose pattern generally did not resemble that of its Cold War commitments. The collapse of the Soviet- supported Communist power projection infrastructure and the USSR’s retreat from empire left power vacu- ums in areas that had been the site of front-line Cold War confrontation. These included Central America, southern Africa and Asia. Retreat from empire left tumultuous areas in the Caucasus, Central Asia and the former Yugoslavia. A number of UN observer missions were established to ease the transition in some of these areas. Canada usually provided a hand- ful of military observers and sometimes transport capability. These missions were:13

  • Operation SULTAN (ONUCA, Nicaragua) 1989–92

  • Operation PYTHON (MINURSO, West Sahara) 1991–94

  • Operation MATCH (ONUSAL, El Salvador) 1992–95

  • Operation CONSONANCE (ONUMOZ, Mozambique) 1993–94

  • Operation MARQUIS, the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC), was part of these post-Cold War disengagement missions but had a larger Canadian contribution in addition to mili- tary observers: it included a combat engineer troop and a logistics company. Canada’s commitment to UNTAC lasted from 1992 to 1993.14

Humanitarian operations were not new to the Canadian forces, which had conducted them since the 1950s. These missions usually employed one or two CC-130 transport aircraft or a 707 plus a ground crew support element. The Canadian forces undertook the following humanitarian operations in the early 1990s:

  • Montserrat and Nevis (volcano) 1991

  • Ethiopia (famine) 1991

  • Russia (famine) 1992–94

  • Sudan (famine) 1993

  • United States (hurricane) 1993

In the early 1990s, however, a new form of armed humanitarian intervention emerged. Conducted in non-permissive environments, humanitarian aid efforts were accompanied by combat troops. The best known was Operation DELIVERANCE, the Canadian component of the American-led Unified Task Force (UNITAF), which conducted operations in Somalia in support of the UNOSOM I and UNOSOM II UN mis- sions there. In this case, a joint Canadian expedi- tionary force based on the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group was put together for opera- tions in Somalia, the first time this had been done since Operation BANDIT off Haiti in 1988 (Oliviero 2001; Pupetz 1994). The other operations were LANCE, PASSAGE and SCOTCH (1994–95). These three missions were the Canadian components of the relief effort after the genocide in Rwanda. These operations included a medical unit, an engineer unit, a logistics unit and a protective element provided by the Airborne Regiment.15

Peace Observation, disengagement and humanitar- ian assistance were all relatively short-term commit- ments using mostly logistics and support units. The Canadian forces, however, was committed to several longer-term missions in three primary theatres of operations in the early 1990s. Two of these theatres would remain active well into the late 1990s and even into the twenty-first century.

Canada’s involvement in Haiti ran through the period when the 1994 White Paper was being formu- lated. A planned non-combatant evacuation opera- tion, BANDIT was deployed in 1988. From 1990 to 1993, a Canadian-American attempt to pressure the Cedras regime into sharing power failed: soon after, a combined humanitarian effort involving Canadian and American troops (Operations CAULDRON and DIALOGUE) was peacefully rebuffed and a United Nations-sanctioned blockade imposed. Canada con- tributed substantial naval forces, including two destroyers and an operational support ship (Operation FORWARD ACTION) in 1993–94. After an American intervention in 1994–95 (Operation RESTORE DEMOCRACY), a UN stabilization force, the United Nations Mission in Haiti (UNMIH), was deployed. Canada contributed a 1,200-man infantry battalion group supported with helicopters. This force was annually reduced in strength between 1995 and 1997 (Operations PIVOT, STANDARD and STABLE) and then withdrawn (see Griffiths, Gimblett, and Haydon 1998).

Next to the Balkans, Canada’s longest military commitment in the 1990s was in the Persian Gulf. Canada committed to the first two phases of a cam- paign designed to force the Hussein regime out of Kuwait in 1990–91 and comply with the demands of the UN Security Council. Operation FRICTION, the deployment of a naval task group (two destroyers and an AOR plus embarked helicopters) to join the American-led Multinational Interception Force (MIF) in 1990, was followed up with two squadrons of CF- 18 fighters and an infantry company (Operation SCIMITAR). A field hospital and an infantry company to guard it were also deployed (Operation SCALPAL). After Iraqi forces were ejected from Kuwait and the Operation FRICTION, SCIMITAR and SCALPAL forces went home, a series of operations was implemented to stabilize the situation. One of these was the 1991 multinational Operation PROVIDE COMFORT in southern Turkey, which included a Canadian medical unit and transports (Operation ASSIST). A UN stabi- lization force, UNIKOM, was deployed to establish a buffer zone between Iraq and Kuwait: Canada con- tributed an engineer regiment on two rotations in 1991–92 and military observers from 1991 to 1999. Canada also contributed to coalition containment operations: Canadian forces specialist personnel were part of the UNSCOM weapons of mass destruction search and destroy operation (Operation FORUM), and Canadian forces AWACS personnel monitored the no- fly zones (Operations NORTHERN and SOUTHERN WATCH) (Maloney 2002a).

The largest series of Canadian forces operations between 1991 and 1994 was in the Balkans. If the Persian Gulf was one primary theatre of Canadian operations, the Balkans was the other. In the period 1991–94 the Canadian forces deployed military observers with the European Community Monitor Mission (Operation BOLSTER), led by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe, to all of the former Yugoslavian republics. The inability of the European Community to develop a peacekeeping force in Croatia led to Operation HARMONY, the deploy- ment of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPRO- FOR): in 1992 Canada deployed a mechanized infantry battalion and an armoured engineer regiment from its NATO forces based in Lahr, Germany. As the situation in Bosnia deteriorated, Canada offered a mechanized battalion group (replaced with a light armoured regi- ment) to serve with UNPROFOR II from late 1992 (Operation CAVALIER). A logistics battalion was also deployed to support both, while Canada also sent in a number of UN military observers for the duration. Rotations of all three units occurred every six months. As the humanitarian situation in Sarajevo worsened, Canada allocated one specially equipped CC-130 to the resupply effort (Operation AIR BRIDGE: from 1992 on). At sea, Canada joined NATO naval forces in enforcing sanctions: a Canadian destroyer or frigate rotated every six months from 1992 to 1995, while two CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft joined that effort (Operation SHARP GUARD) (Maloney 1996, 1997a; Maloney and Llambias 2002).

Canadian Forces’ Domestic Operations to 1994

Ongoing search and rescue and maritime surveil- lance operations continued throughout the peri- od. Naval forces assisted with RCMP counter-drug operations on occasion (Operations HOGAN and JAGGY in 1993), while a hunter-killer submarine was involved in covert surveillance of illegal scallopers in 1993 in support of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Operation AMBUSCADE). The two largest domestic operations were both conducted in 1990. Operation FEATHER was the deployment of an infantry battalion to Akwesasne when armed violence broke out amongst Mohawk factions. Later that year the entire 5e BMC was deployed south of Montreal to contain armed insurrectionists at Oka and Châteauguay (Operation SALON). A CP-140 Aurora MPA and a naval patrol vessel were involved in surveillance operations during Operation SALON. Compared to the overseas operational tempo, the domestic operational tempo was low from 1991 to 1994.16

Was There a Commitment- Capability Gap by 1993-94?

Overseas Operations

The pattern of deployments and the types of forces deployed in a cumulative sense gives an indica- tion of the high operational tempo in the period 1990 to 1994. From 1990 to 1992 a mechanized brigade group was deployed to Europe. During the 1990–91 Gulf War the Canadian contribution consisted mostly of CF-18 squadrons and a naval task group. The period 1992 to 1994, however, saw the deployment, at any one time, of three infantry battalions, one light armoured regiment, two tactical helicopter units, an engineer regiment, a logistics battalion (plus), three destroyers, two patrol aircraft and two operational sup- port ships. Other UN commitments, like the long- standing UNDOF commitment on the Golan Heights (1974 to the present), took the better part of a logistics battalion every six months. Compare this level of deployment with the available units in a downsizing Canadian forces:

  • 2/3 operational support ship

  • 3/16 destroyers/frigates

  • 2/18 maritime patrol aircraft

  • 1/3 Armoured regiments

  • 3/7 infantry battalions17

  • 2/3 service battalions

  • 1.5/3 engineer regiments

  • 1/3 field ambulances

  • 2/3 tactical helicopter squadrons

The need for rest, refit and training usually means that at least three times the number of forces a nation wishes to deploy are needed to sustain commit- ments—assuming no casualties are being generated and personnel are not mentally breaking down with stress and post-traumatic stress problems. Indeed, perhaps four times the number are required for land forces outside of a mid- to high-intensity war sce- nario. Therefore, had the Canadian government wished to sustain the overseas operational tempo of the 1992 to 1994 period, the following forces would have been required:

  • 12 infantry battalions

  • 4 armoured regiments

  • 4 service battalions

  • 4 engineer regiments

  • 4 field ambulances

  • 4 tactical helicopter squadrons

  • 16 destroyers/frigates

  • 3 operational support ships

  • 18 maritime patrol aircraft

For the land forces, these numbers correspond approximately to the Cold War force structure circa 1958 to 1970: that is, four complete, fully manned brigade groups (Maloney 1997b). Note that the mari- time force structure had enough platforms and was capable of handling the strain of the operational tempo, though an additional operational support ship would have been a important addition. Fighter squadrons, obviously, were not deployed overseas during this period, nor were artillery regiments, and therefore do not figure in the calculation due to oper- ation type. In other words, had the Canadian govern- ment wished to sustain the operational tempo it imposed on its armed forces, it would not have reduced the size of the armed forces from 1990 levels downwards, but instead would have increased them to pre-1970 levels or reduced the number of overseas commitments.

Neither was the thorny issue of reserve employ- ment in operations addressed at this time. The cult- ural barriers between the reserve and regular components of the Canadian forces remained as strong in the early 1990s as they had been in the pre- ceding 30 years. Individual augmentees were occa- sionally employed, but sub-units or units were not. The Army, particularly, did not examine or develop creative means of burden sharing with its reserve component.

It must be pointed out that this analysis merely looks at numbers. It does not examine and cannot measure the human cost of such a high operational tempo. By failing to increase the size of the armed forces and at the same time imposing these commit- ments, the Canadian government essentially burned out large numbers of men and women. Having dumped service personnel into politically and geo- graphically complex environments, usually with no clear justification in terms of the national interest or even a discernible UN mandate, this country is fortu- nate not to be confronted with a military disaster on a par with Hong Kong or Dieppe. Indeed the long- term effects of these operations on Canadian forces personnel constitute, in some cases, individual “Dieppes” or “Hong Kongs” of the mind.

There were other deficiencies. The principal one was the lack of strategic lift. In the 1950s and 1960s Canada’s forces could self-deploy using existing sealift and airlift (Maloney 2002c, chaps. 4, 8). By the 1970s this capability was drastically reduced as the lift vehicles aged and were not replaced. Canada’s Cold War force structure was generally forward-based in West Germany. When Canadian UN missions were deployed after 1970, they were light interpositionary peacekeeping forces and the deployment was con- ducted in a permissive environment. The taking on of the CAST brigade group commitment to Norway in the 1970s should have generated the acquisition of Canadian sealift shipping. As a cost-saving measure, Norwegian Roll On-Roll Off (RO-RO) ships were con- tracted for the only full-scale CAST deployment exer- cise, BRAVE LION, in 1986. No strategic airlift aircraft were acquired: Air Command was content to rely on CC-130 Hercules tactical transports pressed into a strategic role. The 707s that were on hand were inca- pable of operating from unimproved airstrips and incapable of transporting vehicles (Maloney 2002–03).

In the early 1990s the strategic lift problem was not obvious. The peace observation missions were small in number and did not require anything beyond the Polaris airliners. UNPROFOR I and II relied ini- tially on forces and equipment deployed from Lahr. When additional armoured vehicles were deployed, they were brought in using a chartered RO-RO ship that landed in a permissive environment. UNTAC’s logistics vehicles could be flown in by CC-130, while the Griffon helicopters slated for UNMIH in Haiti could self-deploy through the United States and the infantry battalion could fly into a permissive envi- ronment. Forces assigned to operations in the Persian Gulf (UNIKOM, UNSCOM and the AWACS flight crews) could piggyback onto US Air Force airlift.

The cracks started to show with Operation DELIV- ERANCE in Somalia. A Canadian AOR was used in addition to CC-130s, but the force’s Grizzly, Cougar and Bison armoured vehicles had to be brought in by US Air Force C-5 Galaxy transports. What capability existed to evacuate the Canadian DELIVERANCE force if the situation became untenable? The United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) and its collapse should have been a wake-up call. What happens if the Canadian contingent of a UN mission in a remote, dangerous area requires immediate rein- forcement to prevent a genocide, or requires extrac- tion to prevent its demise? The Polaris had no defensive capability in the face of surface-to-air mis- siles or anti-aircraft artillery; it is essentially an air- liner. A small number of CC-130 Hercules had defensive equipment (armour, flares, chaff), but they were assigned to Operation AIR BRIDGE in Sarajevo. In terms of heavy lift, the Polaris cannot carry vehi- cles, and the CC-130s can carry only one light armoured vehicle at a time and nothing else.

At sea, the three operational support vessels were multi-role and could carry a limited number of troops and light vehicles. The operational support vessels, however, had other tasks such as refuelling the ships deployed off Haiti and the former Yugoslavia and serving with the MIF. If Canada had wanted to land or extract a force from a port in Africa, Europe, the Caribbean or the Middle East it would have had to borrow or rent RO-RO shipping from another country. If an extraction were required under non-permissive conditions, would the civilian crew of a rented ship (or aircraft) have been prepared to go in and pull Canadians out?

Continental Defence and Domestic Operations

Measuring a commitment-capability gap for continen- tal and domestic operations in the 1990–94 period is more difficult than an equivalent analysis for overseas operations. The types of domestic scenario envisioned by the 1994 White Paper did not demand unique forces: existing forces geared for overseas operations were adequate, as demonstrated during Operations FEATHER and SALON (on land) and Operation AMBUS- CADE (at sea). There was always the possibility, howev- er, that a situation requiring a brigade group to contain armed native unrest would occur while the bulk of the army was committed overseas. The Army’s response to the Front de Libération du Québec crisis in 1970 did not detract from the readiness of forward-deployed forces in West Germany. During Operation SALON, however, 5e BMC was committed to NATO in Europe as part of SACEUR’s strategic reserve (Maloney 1997b, 442–445). Could the Army have handled all of the 1993–94 com- mitments in the former Yugoslavia, Cambodia, Haiti, Rwanda and Somalia while simultaneously conducting a SALON-like operation in Canada? We are perhaps fortunate that such a situation did not present itself.

As for continental defence, the existing CF-18 force was more than capable of handling any NORAD com- mitments in addition to deploying an expeditionary fighter squadron or two (demonstrated during Operation SCIMITAR in 1990), while the CP-140 Aurora MPA squadrons were in a similar position when it came to maritime surveillance and control missions (again, demonstrated by the fact that CP-140s were deployed as part of Operation SHARP GUARD). Canada’s naval forces were in a strong position to deal with continen- tal defence threats while retaining forward-deployed forces for sanctions-enforcement missions off Haiti, in the Adriatic and in the Persian Gulf/Red Sea maritime interception operation (MIO). The main deficiency was the over-tasked operational support vessels and perhaps the aging Oberon-class submarines. The Sea King issue was, naturally, a problem. These aircraft should have been replaced with the EH-101 as scheduled, but politi- cal decisions by the Chrétien government prevented the acquisition of a New Shipboard Aircraft and needlessly put the lives of the crews at risk. The same applied to the ancient Labrador search and rescue helicopters and their crews.

An Alternative Force Structure

What would the force structure of the Canadian forces have looked like after 1994 had the government chosen to fully implement the premises of the 1994 White Paper? This is a trick question. Given that the document is tentative, vague and unspecific in terms of expressing Canadian interests and the threats to those interests, how could it possibly have been used as policy guid- ance for detailed force structuring?18 One way would be to delve beneath the coded language and attempt to discern the bureaucracy’s subtextual meaning and then base a force structure on that analysis; another would be to decide on a force structure and then argue that the policy guidance was vague enough to accommodate anything.

Given what knowledgeable analysts knew and had written in 1993–94 about the changed global situation (as opposed to what we now know happened between 1995 and 2001), a better contextual section could have been developed in the 1994 White Paper. Clearer identi- fication of Canadian interests in this context was in fact possible.19 Throwing one’s hands in the air and declaring that we cannot predict the future was not really the best move: Royal Dutch Shell analytical departments per- form similar exercises all the time with some degree of accuracy.20 Consequently, developing a force structure to protect Canadian interests within the budgetary con- straints of Canada’s debt situation was in fact possible, but would have required clear strategic objectives to shape a coherent national security vision. Forcing con- servative institutions like the bureaucracies of National Defence Headquarters and the three armed services to accept radical change in such a short time, however, would have been next to impossible. Incremental change would have been the order of the day.

Canadian Interests in the Early 1990s

In the most essential terms, Canadian interests have always been the physical and economic protection of Canada, its institutions and its people. The Canadian strategic tradition is based on Forward Security: stop security problems overseas from getting out of con- trol before they have an adverse effect at home in North America. This has not fundamentally changed since the 1800s, nor will it change as long as Canada continues to exist and her people continue to occupy the territory we define as Canada. The 1994 White Paper is correct in stating that

As a nation that throughout its history has done much within the context of interna- tional alliances to defend freedom and democracy, Canada continues to have a vital interest in doing its part to ensure global security, especially since Canada’s economic future depends on its ability to trade freely with other nations.21

The 1994 White Paper, however, strays in its examination of threats. It labels these “concerns,” a word that is not strong enough. Indeed, use of the terms “global pressures,” “refugees,” “failed states,” “resurgence of old hatreds” and “proliferation” to replace specific threats was too broad and vague even in 1993–94. For example, there is no discussion of specific geography: the conflict areas threatening Canadian interests were in specific areas, and there were specific causes. By casting the “concerns” in the broadest of terms, the White Paper suggests that Canada had the ability to intervene anywhere glo- bally at any time for a whole range of reasons. It could have chosen language that pointed to specific regions with caveats that Canada should keep an eye on other areas and be prepared for military involve- ment in these areas if necessary.

As we have seen, the main issues confronting the world system in the early 1990s related primarily to the withdrawal of the Soviet Communist empire and its affiliates in what used to be called the Third World. The Soviet withdrawal from empire was, in many ways, similar to the British, Belgian and French decolonization exercises of the 1950s and 1960s. Unlike the British, however, the Soviet leadership did not prepare many of its former colonies or client states for independence: the violence in the Caucasus is the best example. In the case of Yugoslavia, the Soviet decolonization drama was played out at the micro level: the Communist empire formally led by Tito collapsed into its constituent elements, which had been colonized in the 1920s. As for Cambodia, the Communist effort there could no longer sustain itself in the face of new realities.

Cold War proxy-war front lines were in the process of disengagement as early as 1989: examples include South Africa’s withdrawal from Namibia and the associated withdrawal of support for UNITA (Union Nacional Por La Independence Totale Do Angola) forces in Angola; the acceptance of UN mediation in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala in Central America;22 the reunification of Germany and the progressive withdrawal of the Group of Soviet Forces Germany; and the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan.

Withdrawal from power produces, no matter how temporarily, a power vacuum. In many cases the vac- uum was filled by individual leaders and groups using ethnic animosity as a vehicle to achieve and retain power. Unfortunately most analysts of the day ascribed violence in the Balkans, the Caucasus and elsewhere to “ethnic conflict” that had existed for decades/centuries/millennia and was unleashed when the Cold War system was suddenly removed. Instead of identifying these individuals and groups as totali- tarian and anti-democratic, the authors of the 1994 White Paper concentrated on trying to “understand” them, identifying and addressing the “root causes.” The key to this cipher should have been Saddam Hussein and his behaviour after the 1990–91 Gulf War. Here was a national socialist totalitarian repressing his population and generating instability in an economic area vital to the Western, now global, economic system.

The authors of the 1994 White Paper asserted that the four horsemen of the apocalypse were riding around the globe as if famine, pestilence, environ- mental damage and population growth were new to history. This litany can be found in the thinking of academics of the 1960s and 1970s. Why were these considered new problems? Why, exactly, did a Canadian defence White Paper need to address them?

It should have been obvious to analysts that there were two major threats to Canadian interests in the early 1990s. These threats should have been clearly stated and prioritized over all other global problems.

Eastern Europe and the Former Yugoslavia

There is an assumption that the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 meant that Communism was dead in 1989. But Russia, for example, did not withdraw her armed forces from East Germany until 1993. The end of the Soviet Union in 1991 generated a dangerous situation, particularly with regard to the security of its weapons of mass destruction, in addition to its arsenal of high-technology conventional weapons. The coup attempt in August 1991 indicated that, in the event of miscalculation, the situation in Eastern Europe could have deteriorated into a war (Cockburn and Cockburn 1997; Pry 1999). The collapse of Yugoslavia and the multiple wars that emerged there could have caused instability within adjacent former members of the Warsaw Pact. It is conceivable that if the situation in the former Yugoslavia was not contained, it could have spread into the newly freed Captive Nations. The emergence of a totalitarian leader in Belgrade, Slobodan Milosevic, and the contin- ued interference by his regime in the affairs of adjacent states was recognized early on (see Ash 1999). The complicating factor was the existence of other totalitar- ians in the region such as Franjo Tudjman in Croatia: everybody is bad, so who do the “good guys” back? Keep in mind the proximity of Yugoslavia to NATO’s European members: Croatia is an eight-hour drive from Lahr in Germany. Having several wars going on in the NATO Area with attendant spin-off problems like refugee flow into Italy and Greece and consequent eco- nomic and social pressures, in addition to the dramatic increase in organized crime that accompanies instabili- ty, was, in a word, destabilizing. This state of affairs was deliberately generated by men who made choices: it was not an act of fate (Glenny 1992; Silber and Little 1995). The 1994 White Paper would have us believe that only the spin-off issues should be addressed, not the source of the problem.

Middle East and Persian Gulf

The first post-Cold War crisis in which Canada was involved was the aggressive behaviour of the Hussein regime in Iraq. The brutal occupation of Kuwait, the pursuit of weapons of mass destruction programs and the invasion of Saudi Arabia at Khafji generated threats to Canadian interests on several levels. First, the oil- bearing region of the Persian Gulf supplied the economies of Japan and Europe, which were Canada’s two largest trading areas outside of the United States. Damage to the oil delivery process in the Persian Gulf would send shock waves throughout the fragile post- Cold War global economy, which would ultimately affect the Canadian economy. Second, the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by the Hussein regime would contribute to the increased vulnerability of the oil delivery process (as discussed in Pollack 2002); when delivery systems with enough range were acquired, the Hussein regime would have the ability to target Israel with nuclear weapons. The small territory of Israel would be unable to absorb even one nuclear weapon. Consequently, the probability was high that Israel would strike first if the Hussein regime appeared capable of building and deploying nuclear weapons (Cohen 1998). Canada has no interest in a regional nuclear war in the Middle East and, despite tensions between successive Canadian governments and Israel, it is not in Canada’s interest to see Israel destroyed by a Baathist totalitarian state with many political views not dissimilar to those of Germany’s national socialists in the 1930s and 1940s.

In both crises, totalitarian entities emerged imme- diately after the end of the Cold War to threaten Canadian interests in two specific geographical regions. Canada’s strategic tradition lies in countering totalitarian states that threaten Canadian interests: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan, the Soviet Union, Communist China; there is little or no difference between these states and the Hussein and Milosevic regimes in terms of repressive methods and aggressive behaviour. Some may argue that the con- flicts of the 1990s were of lesser magnitude than pre- vious ones and that other nations should take the lead and let Canada decide whether to commit.23 Such a path of least resistance is or should be anathema to independent-thinking Canadians and their represen- tatives, as citizens of a sovereign state with its own values and interests. Contributors to the 1994 White Paper had three or four years to figure out that there were totalitarian threats to Canadian interests and values, yet they failed to do so—or at least they buried such analysis under so much coded language that it was unrecognizable.

Haiti was a special case. The Cedras regime was anti-democratic and odious, if not as efficiently total- itarian as, say, the Hussein regime or as outwardly aggressive as the Milosevic regime (Dupuy 1997; Trouillot 1990). The Haitian refugee flow affected American interests, which in turn could have been interpreted as affecting Canadian interests.

What else was happening around the globe at this time, and how did it affect Canadian interests? The turmoil in the former Soviet Union produced a host of opportunities as well as threats. The 1994 White Paper mentions “proliferation” as a “concern.” It was in Canada’s best interests that nuclear, bio- logical and chemical weapons not be distributed from facilities no longer under central control. The potential threats to the new order in Eastern Europe and in the Persian Gulf by illicit or even overt transfers of technology were also threats to Canadian interests. As for opportunities, Canada has substantial populations of Polish and Ukrainian descent. Closer commercial and military ties would have facilitated information sharing on proliferation issues as well as analysis of potential problem areas in the Soviet decolonization process.

There is, of course, the matter of Africa. Numerous Canadian policy makers have a soft spot for Africa, possibly engendered by their relief and assistance work on that continent when they were young and idealistic, while others may be motivated by the pressures brought to bear by interest groups wielding the “white racism” guilt-trip stick. In a cold, hard realist view, the combination of threats to Canadian interests that existed in the Balkans and in the Persian Gulf did not exist in Africa. What existed in Africa was the failure of national economies based on obsolete and inefficient socialistic models and absorbed by African leaders in the 1960s during decolonization, coupled with corruption at all levels of government, which itself was a holdover from corrupt French and Belgian colonial administrations of days gone by (Ayittey 1998).24 This situation was exacerbated by environmentally unsuitable Western “democractiza- tion” and governance templates. In many cases, Rwanda particularly, the former colonial players remained heavily involved for their own obscure, possibly nefarious, purposes (Dallaire 2003). Was it in Canada’s best interests to intervene and stop them? Was it in Canada’s best interests to sweep up the mess caused by these powers? Was it in Canada’s best interests to “fix” Africa?

Priorities

Given the 1994 White Paper’s premise that there is not enough money for an armed forces to do every- thing we want it to do, and given the realities of the threats to Canadian interests if a proper analysis had been presented, some prioritization should have been done. This might have propelled the force structure best suited to implementing Canadian national security policy. Canada needed and contin- ues to need both a force structure that can handle domestic and continental operations and a force structure to conduct expeditionary operations abroad. In some cases, forces for North American missions can also be used for global expeditionary missions and vice versa. However, Northern

Warning System radars cannot deploy to Bosnia and armoured regiments should not police the Canadian Arctic. Therefore, the forces necessary for the sur- veillance and control of Canada constitute one pri- ority “stream,” while the deployable forces to carry out expeditionary and North American missions constitute another. Canada cannot have forces for one stream or the other. It must have forces for both. On the expeditionary side, prioritization should be dictated by the magnitude of threats to Canadian interests where those threats are manifest, and the types of forces needed to operate effectively in those geographical environments.

Based on the above analysis, a geographical prior- itization of threats to Canadian interests outside of North America would have looked like this in 1994:

  1. Eastern Europe

  2. Persian Gulf/Middle East

  3. Western Hemisphere

  4. Asia

  5. Africa

What operations types should Canada have been prepared to conduct in these regions, keeping in mind Canadian national security priorities and budgetary constraints? Again, this is a bit of a trick question and must be heavily qualified. The types of military opera- tions conducted during the Cold War did not necessar- ily apply to the post-Cold War environment. During the early 1990s the terminology to describe what Canada did, was supposed to be doing or had done was in flux: it should have been clarified in the 1994 White Paper. For example, let us examine the term “peacekeeping.” Peacekeeping during the Cold War was not a static concept. What we refer to as “peace observation” and “peacekeeping” today was called “peacekeeping” in the 1950s. By the 1960s the use of military forces to impose order in a non-linear situa- tion involving entities that are not necessarily nations (what we refer to as “stabilization” today) was also called “peacekeeping” (Maloney 2002c, chap. 1).

If one looks at the 1987 White Paper, one can extract several Cold War-era operations types:

  • maintenance of strategic deterrence

  • conventional defence in the NATO Area, which includes North America

  • protection of Canadian sovereignty

  • peaceful settlement of international disputes (“peacekeeping”)

  • arms control

  • Aid to the civil power (the use of armed force in Canada)

  • foreign disaster and humanitarian relief

  • assistance to civilian authorities (the use of military forces in Canada without resort to arms)

In 1992, tentative moves had been made to estab- lish or differentiate new operations types for the new era. A provisional differentiation in DND consisted of (Maloney 2002a):

Cyprus: This model represents a situation in which a force is put in place to monitor an existing agreement.

Cambodia: This model is taken to represent a sit- uation in which a major civic action-type pro- gram is required to create a semblance of order.

Yugoslavia/Somalia: This model represents a sit- uation in which a force intervenes to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and/or impose a ceasefire or settlement. An agreement may or may not exist and the intervention may require a degree of force or coercion.

Persian Gulf: At the high end of the spectrum is the Gulf War model in which a force is put in place to impose a settlement.

The terminology for these operations types would not emerge until the late 1990s. Even in the mid- 1990s there was a tendency to call them all “peace- keeping” but to differentiate between “Chapter 6” and “Chapter 7” missions (based on the UN Charter), where Chapter 6 was conducted with acquiescence of the belligerents and Chapter 7 was conducted in a less permissive environment.

Note that Canadian defence policy, as established during the Cold War and in the 1994 White Paper, does not formally recognize several other means by which Canada has used her military forces to attain national objectives. This is a result of the dogged determination of policy-makers to make all Canadian military activity fit a legalistic straitjacket provided by the United Nations. For example, Canada conducted what is tradi- tionally called “gunboat diplomacy” on numerous occasions from the 1930s to well into the 1990s. Canada has conducted several non-combatant evacua- tion operations in permissive and non-permissive envi- ronments since the 1960s. It also conducted global strategic intelligence gathering operations during the Cold War and in the 1990s.25

Perhaps it would not be wise to present the full spectrum of Canadian military operations in a defence policy White Paper. However, if one is to derive a force structure capable of implementing policy the details are important. It is critical for us to understand that opera- tions conducted by UNPROFOR I and II or UNITAF are not “peacekeeping” but something else.

The analysis conducted by the Operational Research Division in 1998, based in part on the language of the 1994 White Paper (Maloney 2002b), could easily have been conducted five years earlier. It is likely that the operations types developed after 1998, or variants thereof, could have been established in 1993–94. In any case, these types of operation would have been applicable to any force structure exercise:

  • search and rescue

  • domestic disaster relief

  • international humanitarian assistance (permissive environment)

  • surveillance and control of Canadian territory

  • evacuation of Canadians overseas

  • aid to the civil power

  • national sovereignty enforcement

  • defence of Canada-US territory

  • collective defence in a NATO context

  • peace observation and arms control verification

  • interpositional peacekeeping

  • stabilization operations

What does not appear on the list is outright inter- vention with combat forces. Note that Canada has intervened with combat forces three times since 1990: the Persian Gulf (1990–91), Kosovo (1999) and Afghanistan (2001). At the time, however, those for- mulating the 1994 White Paper refused to conceive of such operations even though the mission in Somalia with UNITAF was an intervention, for example. Why the authors did not consider military intervention as a possibility for Canada’s forces is unfathomable but probably relates to the misguided belief that there was no legal basis for such action in the new world order, in which the United Nations supposedly had primacy.

As with the Cold War defence policies, a force structure to carry out these operations would have certain basic characteristics. First, Canadian forces would have to operate across the spectrum of conflict. Concentrating Canadian forces in one area to the exclusion of all others is pointless; it does not serve Canadian interests and does not protect Canadian sov- ereignty. Second, we must recognize that some force types can be used for several roles. We must, however, also recognize that too much focus on multi-role plat- forms can in fact be uneconomical when there are small numbers of an available capability; the opera- tional support ships are one example of this problem. Third, forces for all three dimensions (air, sea, land) are necessary. No one dimension can serve all of Canada’s national security needs.

Note that Canadian strategic tradition includes the concepts of Forward Security, Alliance and Coalition Warfare; Operational Influence; and Saliency. The Canadian forces employed will never be as sizeable as, say, those provided by the Americans. In general terms, Canada will operate as part of an alliance or coalition and will not undertake independent opera- tions outside the Western Hemisphere. There are exceptions: non-combatant evacuation operations and humanitarian aid delivery, for example. To ensure that Canadian forces are not misused by larger alliance or coalition members, Canada usually provides salient and effective forces to ensure access to alliance or coalition command structures (Operational Influence). In theory, this translates into some form of strategic influence in the coalition if handled effec- tively by diplomatic personnel. It is not enough to provide symbolic contributions to alliance or coali- tion efforts (Maloney 2002d).

We should recognize that the concepts of “war” and “peace” in the twentieth-century sense were in many ways obsolete by the early 1990s. “War” is usu- ally a declared legal state between nation-states. In a globalized world in which a plethora of influencers that are not recognized nation-states are operating and can affect Canadian interests with varying levels of violence, we must recognize that Canada is essen- tially “at war” all the time. This type of conflict does not resemble the First or Second World War in inten- sity and may be akin to the Cold War in some ways, but it is a state of continual tension where the threat of violence is real.

Coming back to our regional priority list, what operations types would have fitted into the regions based on the types of problem affecting Canadian interests?

Eastern Europe:

  • collective defence in a NATO context

  • international humanitarian assistance

  • peace observation and arms control verification

  • stabilization operations 

  • intervention

Persian Gulf/Middle East:

  • evacuation of Canadians overseas

  • stabilization operations

  • peace observation and arms control verification

  • intervention

Western Hemisphere:

  • stabilization operations

  • defence of Canada-US territory

  • international humanitarian assistance

  • evacuation of Canadians overseas

  • peace observation and arms control verification

  • intervention

Asia:

  • international humanitarian assistance (permissive environment)

  • evacuation of Canadians overseas

  • peace observation and arms control verification

Africa:

  • international humanitarian assistance (permissive environment)

  • evacuation of Canadians overseas

  • peace observation and arms control verification

What if the operations types for the priority geo- graphical areas (Eastern Europe, Persian Gulf/Middle East, Western Hemisphere) are combined? These mis- sions cover a broad band on the spectrum of conflict, from lower to higher intensity, and involve all three dimensions:

  • international humanitarian assistance (permissive environment)

  • peace observation and arms control verification

  • evacuation of Canadians overseas

  • stabilization operations

  • intervention

  • collective defence in a NATO context

  • defence of Canada-US territory

There are essentially two groupings of missions: the first three on the list are not manpower intensive and are generally temporary or of short duration. These are short-notice contingency operations that can be mount- ed in all five geographical regions without the same level of preparation and duration as the second group.

International humanitarian assistance (permissive environment)

The forces necessary for the delivery of humanitarian aid in a permissive environment include an Air Logistics Control Element and between one and three transport aircraft like the CC-130 Hercules. Canada has conducted these operations types since the 1960s and this level of effort has remained constant. In any one year there has been at least one such operation. In terms of duration, the humanitarian aid delivery element has deployed for weeks, as opposed to months or years. Consequently, the effort is usually temporary and uses nationally controlled forces diverted from other missions (Maloney 2002b).

Peace observation and arms control verification

The average number of Canadian military observers deployed on a peace observation or arms control ver- ification mission is 15. The observers are usually deployed in a permissive environment. At any time, Canada has had between one and five arms control and peace observation missions ongoing, with per- sonnel “subcontracted” and under the command of coalitions or alliances established for the particular task. The effort in these cases can be protracted, sometimes over years, but the numbers of personnel so employed are low and virtually no major equip- ment is used (Maloney 2002b).

Evacuation of Canadians overseas

Non-combatant evacuation operations (NEOs) are short-duration rescue operations. They usually involve a small number of transport aircraft, a warship, or both, plus special operations forces and intelligence personnel. NEO assets are under national control. Canadian-led NEOs are not frequent, but over-reliance on our allies in their area calls into question Canadian sovereignty when embassies and diplomatic independ- ence are involved (Maloney 2002b).

Stabilization, intervention and conventional defence operations are a breed apart in all areas, particularly in intensity, duration and risk. The forces required for them are more complex, as are the lift and command and control requirements. There is substantial scope when selecting the types of forces to deploy, and that will be related to alliance or coalition objectives, Canadian national objectives, the threat, and the level of force necessary to achieve the objective. In all three of the priority geographical areas, a pattern emerged in the 1990s. Stabilization forces were introduced, some- times with the consent of the belligerents; economic pressure using maritime forces to implement sanctions was applied to coerce a belligerent to accept interna- tional efforts; ground and air intervention forces were readied in case the situation deteriorated, which aug- mented the pressure tactics; and then the intervention force was employed if necessary to compel the belliger- ent forces to comply with international demands.

In the early 1990s, however, there was some dis- agreement on the weight of the stabilization forces. Some suggested that stabilization forces be lightly armed and not equipped for combat operations, which in turn would generate confidence amongst the bel- ligerent factions. Unfortunately this permitted better- armed belligerent forces to coerce the stabilization forces, which rendered their efforts ineffective. Others suggested that forces equipped, trained and logistically supported to conduct combat operations were more capable of performing stabilization missions. As for conventional defence missions, the same types of forces used for intervention and heavy stabilization missions could handle these other tasks.

There is no generic force structure for stabilization, intervention or conventional defence operations. The exact makeup of each mission will depend on the ter- rain, how the belligerent forces are equipped and the level of force deemed necessary to deal with the situa- tion. For example, armoured units and mechanized infantry supported with self-propelled artillery were part of an alliance operation to deter an enemy mecha- nized attack in NATO’s Central Region with its open and rolling terrain and rivers; and light infantry and light armoured forces were deployed to Somalia to provide armed protection to humanitarian delivery organizations and to disarm belligerent factions interfering with these activities. These operations were conducted in a desert environment. In Croatia, a mechanized infantry battalion equipped with TOW anti-tank systems stabilized the lines in mountainous terrain in an environment where the belligerent forces used mainly battle tanks and multiple rocket- launch systems. In Haiti, light infantry supported with helicopters conducted quick reaction force air- mobile operations against the remnants of the col- lapsed Cedras regime in mountainous jungle areas as well as urban terrain.

If a prioritization exercise based on national inter- ests had been conducted for the 1994 White Paper, the emergent force structure should have had several components:

  • Balkans Force

  • Persian Gulf Force

  • Contingency Deployment Force

  • Continental and Hemispheric Defence Force

The three services would act as force generators of these four commands. The Balkans Force and the Persian Gulf Force would have forces assigned to the alliance efforts in these two regions. These forces would be salient and militarily effective within the alliance efforts. The scale of the Canadian deploy- ment would depend on the level of effort being ex- erted by the alliance at the time, with preparations made to augment that effort when required. If a sta- bilization force was protecting Kuwait and pressure was being applied by sanctions enforcement, then a mechanized battle group and a helicopter-carrying frigate would be assigned. If an intervention force was being readied to augment a stabilization force in Bosnia, than a brigade group and air support would be positioned and readied for action, with the strate- gic sealift and strategic air transport forces earmarked to move the combat equipment needed for the effort.

In essence, the Balkans Force and the Persian Gulf Force would each have a battle group forward- deployed either on operations in a stabilization role or pre-positioned for intervention or defence opera- tions. Flyover training in each region would be mandatory. One brigade group would be allocated to each force, with the balance of each brigade held in Canada or with its equipment pre-positioned in Europe or South West Asia. A CF-18 squadron equipped for precision-guided munition (PGM) deliv- ery would also be assigned to each force: they could be forward-based in Germany together and deploy to the active theatre when required. A special operations force increment would also be assigned to each force. Note that each force would be able to contribute to alliance or coalition efforts in areas immediately adjacent to the primary operating area. For example, if forces were required for conventional defence in the NATO Area, then the Balkans Force would be responsible for intelligence collection and contin- gency planning to use its assigned forces to con- tribute to the alliance effort.

The Contingency Deployment Force (CDF) would prepare for non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian aid delivery, and peace observation missions, with its strategic transport aircraft, special operations forces, light infantry brigade group, and culturally aware pool of experienced and mature observer personnel. The CDF would also have the capability to conduct limited-duration intervention missions in non-priority geographical areas with light infantry and special operations forces. A deployable joint force headquarters would command the effort: it would have its own lift and strategic communications capability. Naval forces would be assigned by Maritime Command on a case-by-case basis.

The Continental and Hemispheric Defence Force (CHDF) would include all of the strategic sensor sys- tems and interceptor, anti-submarine, and surveil- lance assets necessary to observe and protect Canadian sovereignty. Land forces based in Canada not deployed as part of the Balkans Force or the Persian Gulf Force and not assigned to the CDF would be assigned to a brigade group headquarters reporting to the CHDF for aid to the civil power and assistance with civil authority tasks. The CHDF would also be the repository of corporate knowledge related to interoperability matters and continental defence.

The primary equipment deficiencies to implement such a force structure after release of the 1994 White Paper would have been strategic airlift and strategic sealift. Structurally, the CDF would have needed a deployable headquarters. An expanded special opera- tions force and intelligence-gathering capability would also have been required. The maritime forces as they existed in 1994, with the exception of the Sea King helicopters, would have been adequate in num- ber and quality to implement this force structure plan, though some rationalization vis-à-vis the AORs and the strategic sealift would have been required. As for air power, four CF-18 squadrons, two of them fully equipped and trained for PGM delivery, would have sufficed, with additional aircraft held in reserve in case battle losses required their use.

The land forces certainly would have required expansion. The three light infantry battalions would have needed to be brought up to strength, and some creative means to employ reserve units, at the sub- unit level at least, would have been necessary. The raising of three other infantry battalions would have been called for, as would the return to the order of battle of the fourth armoured regiment. The M-113A2 armoured personnel carrier would have needed replacement with a more capable mechanized infantry combat vehicle. The Lynx recce vehicle would have needed to be replaced. The Leopard C-1 would have required upgrading or replacement with cascaded (and therefore cheap and more effective) Dutch Leopard 2 or even American M-1 Abrams tanks. The M-109A2 could have received an upgrade. Expanded use of unmanned aerial vehicles would have been useful, building on existing Canadian technology.
The cumulative effect of these upgrades would have been to position Canada for the next genera- tional evolution of fighting technology instead of now having to make the leap from 1970s Cold War kit, which in any case would have limited Canada’s military effectiveness in any coalition or alliance effort. It is unfortunate for the Canadian forces and for Canadian taxpayers that this was not deemed affordable by the government of the day.

Back to the Real World: What Happened after 1994

The premises of the 1994 White Paper did not generally hold after 1995. The optimism over the place of the United Nations in global securi- ty collapsed after the setbacks in Rwanda, Croatia, Bosnia and Somalia. NATO- and ABCA-led26 coali- tions took on the stabilization tasks, as they were more efficient in their command and control relation- ships, could bring coercive firepower to bear and were comparatively unencumbered by the legalistic demands of the unwieldy UN bureaucracy. “Warfighting,” in fact, was necessary, as the events in Kosovo and Afghanistan demonstrated. “Peacekeeping” was held up to derision in an increasingly lawless world where non-state entities violently made hash of formal treaties and diplomatic arrange- ments. Weapons of mass destruction remained a serious issue, but, with the exception of its participation in UNSCOM, the Canadian forces had no real role to play in countering proliferation. Humanitarian assistance missions as anticipated by the 1994 White Paper were not conducted on a sustained basis by the Canadian forces: it is difficult to conclude that Canadian efforts in this area were able to stem the tide of refugee flows generated by the unrest gripping Africa, though the stabilization of Haiti was a useful exercise. The Canadian forces shone, however, when they were pre- pared to go to war, and they used salient and effective “warfighting” forces in stabilization and combat opera- tions: Bosnia during the Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Force (SFOR) periods; Kosovo and Afghanistan are the best examples.

The burnout of the Canadian forces was eventually, by 1997, recognized as a problem within DND (Young 1997). Instead of increasing the size of the forces, par- ticularly the Army, the government continued to com- mit military forces overseas. The four new peace observation missions, in the Central African republic, Sierra Leone, Guatemala and the Congo, were not man- power or equipment intensive. On average, however, there were two infantry battalions, an armoured recce squadron, and a tactical helicopter squadron deployed at any one time to Bosnia and Haiti from 1995 to 1997, both commitments rotating every six months. From 1998 to 2000–01 there were two infantry battalion groups, two recce squadrons, and a tactical helicopter squadron deployed to Bosnia and Kosovo, both com- mitments rotating every six months, plus two inde- pendent infantry company groups deployed to locations as disparate as East Timor and Ethiopia- Eritrea (Maloney 2002b). The exact Canadian interests at stake in these last two locations is unclear and the scale of effort in both locations was virtually token, especially in East Timor.

Air operations conducted during Operation ALLIED FORCE over Serbia included a Canadian component. A CF-18 squadron was incrementally deployed, but its operations were adversely affected in that insufficient PGM delivery equipment, munitions or trained pilots were immediately available. Indeed, the force had to be cannibalized from all four existing CF-18 squadrons, in terms of both equipment and personnel.27

In terms of domestic operations, however, a policy was implemented whereby the Canadian forces would be the “force of last resort” in any aid to the civil power operation. This placed the onus on the RCMP and regional policing organizations to deal with civil unrest. The Canadian forces supported two police deployments against armed native groups, Gustavsen Lake (Operation WALLABY) and Ipperwash (Operation MAPLE), but did not deploy units as it had during the events of 1990. Deployments related to resource pro- tection increased: the so-called Turbot War of 1995 produced a multi-ship and patrol aircraft maritime force deployment to confront Spanish overfishing, while a submarine was deployed to covertly observe illegal scalloping operations (see Maloney 2002b; “Gunboat Diplomacy” 1995).

The Canadian forces got involved in the interna- tional disaster relief business at the insistence of DFAIT. A Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was formed in 1997 (Young 1997). A deliberately modest organization, the DART was a grouping of secondarily tasked medical and engineer sub-units with a small protective force, all using existing CC-130 airlift. It deployed briefly to Honduras in 1998 and Turkey in 1999.

In terms of domestic disaster relief, the Canadian forces was used more and more by other government departments and the provinces once they realized they could do so. Two prime examples are the Winnipeg flood of 1997 and the ice storm of 1998. The SwissAir MAJAID (Major Aircraft Disaster) oper- ation in 1998 is another example (Maloney 2002b).

A Canadian presence was maintained in the Persian Gulf. One frigate was deployed on a regular basis with an American carrier battle group, while Canadian AWACS personnel continued to monitor the no-fly zones alongside their American comrades and Canadian UNSCOM personnel hunted down produc- tion capability regarding weapons of mass destruc- tion. The cat and mouse game with the Hussein regime reached dangerous proportions when Iraqi forces started moving in the directions of Kuwait and Jordan in 1998. With the Hussein regime’s continued lack of compliance on the weapons of mass destruc- tion issue, a coalition was established to coerce Iraq. The Canadian component, Operation DETERMINA- TION, included a frigate and two tanker aircraft (Maloney 2002a).

Most of these operations were manageable within the Canadian forces’ existing resources. Serious defi- ciencies, however, emerged after 1994. In 1996, Canada attempted to lead a multinational force into Zaire when it appeared as though a genocide of similar proportions to the events of 1994 in Rwanda was in the offing. This effort, Operation ASSURANCE, lacked the strategic lift, strategic communications and intelligence capabilities necessary to conduct effective operations in this remote region of Africa. It was not enough to borrow every- thing from the United States or other allies. Unlike Australia, France or the United Kingdom, Canada was demonstrably incapable of conducting a self-sustaining expeditionary operation, even in pursuit of a humani- tarian objective (Hennessy 2001).

The second event was the GTS Katie affair. To save money, DND embarked on a program called Alternate Service Delivery (ASD), whereby civilian corporations would be contracted to handle some defence tasks. In this case, a strategic lift RO-RO vessel was contracted to deliver the Canadian Kosovo Force (KFOR) contin- gent’s vehicles and equipment from Canada to Greece during the Kosovo War, and then retrieve the equip- ment when the operation was completed. On the return trip, a dispute over the contract resulted in the ship owners holding Canada hostage: the ship drifted around the North Atlantic with 20 percent of Canada’s armoured vehicles aboard. A naval task group, Operation MEGAPHONE, was deployed to retrieve the ship and recover the equipment.28

Canada continues to globally deploy, on average, two infantry battalions and two armoured recce squadrons at any given time. The ongoing SFOR oper- ation in Bosnia, rotating every six months, is one of these.29 Operation APOLLO, Canada’s commitment to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan, brought a light infantry battalion and armoured recce troops to fight in the al-Qaeda War (though most of the force was delivered using American strategic air- lift). When this commitment was withdrawn in the summer of 2002, another infantry battalion, this one a mixed light-medium battalion, plus an armoured recce squadron, were deployed to Kabul to serve with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in 2003. ASD strategic sea- and airlift was employed to get the Operation ATHENA force to Kabul. ASD airlift, however, remains a dangerous undertaking: the entire Spanish ISAF contingent was killed when their ASD aircraft crashed in Turkey in 2003. In another case an ASD (not Canadian) transport conducting humanitari- an relief in the Congo lost its rear door and 140 peo- ple were sucked out while the aircraft was in flight (CNN.com/world 2003; International Security Assistance Force 2003). Canadian maritime forces, including two CP-140 patrol aircraft and at least one ship (down from six in the fall of 2001), continue to support Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

On a more positive note, it is now recognized, after the successful deployment of JTF-2 to fight in Afghanistan with Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, that special operations forces are and will be integral to Canadian expeditionary operations. The serendipi- tous development of the Coyote surveillance vehicle and the acceptance of ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) as an integral part of operations are significant. Developments in neither area were anticipated in the 1994 White Paper process, or, apparently, by those involved in force structure exercises early in the 1990s. The close-out of the old divisional headquar- ters structure and its replacement with a proper Joint Force Headquarters, Joint Operations Group and Joint Signals Regiment by the late 1990s (Young 1997) are other significant developments toward the achieve- ment of an efficient and effective deployable com- mand and control structure. Canada continues, however, to be deficient in its use of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Conclusion

This exercise was conducted to answer a ques- tion posed by the Institute for Research on Public Policy: In order to implement the 1994 White Paper, what force structure should have been developed? Some may argue that the answer is a moot point—an exercise in alternative history—or that such an exercise is superficial. An examination of the 1994 White Paper in light of subsequent events, how- ever, illuminates several areas that should apply in any future defence policy process:

  • Future defence policy must be based on a realistic vision of Canadian interests, how they may be threatened and what military forces are needed to counter such threats. Use of vague language may be acceptable politically, but it smacks of decep- tion, indecision and lack of leadership.

  • The Canadian forces must be able to function across the spectrum of conflict in order to protect Canadian interests. Selecting one band in the spec- trum and confining the force structure to that band does not serve national interests. Canada can and does fight wars; it is not merely a “peacekeep- ing” nation. Obsolete concepts of “peace” and “war” must be jettisoned. They are products of the nineteenth century, not the twenty-first.

  • Policy-makers should be mindful of Canadian strate- gic traditions and how they affect national security policy and the development of the force structure to carry out that policy. The principles of Saliency, Operational Influence and Forward Security will always be at work in the background, no matter what terminology is employed to describe Canada’s military operations.

  • The human factor is critical when the balance of commitments, rotations and deployment capability is considered. An over-reliance on quantitative analysis overlooks this, which in turn will have negative effects on recruitment, retention and morale. To ignore force burnout is not only morally wrong but criminally negligent. Such behaviour will, over time, increase the costs of defence beyond the apparent short-term “savings” accrued through the introduction of too much “efficiency” into the system.

  • Policy-makers must educate themselves on the prob- lems of weapons and platform procurement and resist the temptation to inject political expediency into those processes for short-term gain. The Sea King-New Shipboard Aircraft program is a case in point. At the same time, the Canadian forces must stop second-guessing what the policy makers want and instead present them with a professional view as to what equipment is required. The onus should be on the policy makers, not on the Canadian forces. The problems with Main Battle Tank acquisition since 1970 are a case in point. The equipment pro- curement process needs to be expedited, perhaps with the elimination of assistant deputy minister (ADM [Material]) and the re-formation, outside of DND, of the Department of Defence Production.

  • Policy-makers are being encouraged by recent research to think more strategically about their national security interests and objectives. They must ensure that the same attention and care is directed toward operational and force structure considerations.

In the end, any examination of alternative force structuring and the 1994 White Paper tells a cautionary tale. Many will argue that there was no miscalculation, that Canada “got it just right,” that the Canadian gov- ernment pulled off a balancing act in the face of severe fiscal constraints. This is not the case, as many soldiers in the field would attest. In pursuing efficiency above all else, some of the nation’s representatives may well have sacrificed the country’s self-respect. Why is it, for example, that Canada, a G-8 power, can sustain only one or two battle groups, of fewer than a thousand personnel each, overseas while other NATO nations such as France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom are able to deploy self-contained brigades, and even divisions, to stabilize critical areas? Why is it that Bangladesh and Nigeria deploy larger forces than Canada, for all of its peacekeeping rhetoric, to UN operations? Why is it that Uruguay has more overseas deployments than Canada? Have we become so used to small, nearly tactical, contin- gents, because of cultural factors within the armed forces, that we do not envisage other possibilities? Is our army an army of battalion commanders? Are we perhaps too smug in our estimation of the “worth” of a Canadian soldier versus a Dutch, Nigerian or American one? Quality does matter, but, as Stalin correctly put it, “quantity has a quality all of its own.” The inability of the regular and reserve forces to deal with systemic cultural problems is an example of the failure of creative problem solving within the Canadian forces. At the same time, the government’s continual bowing to the efficiency god at the expense of the mental and physical health of its soldiers is abhorrent. At the Canadian Forces Officer Candidate School, junior officers are taught that there is “no excuse” when it comes to their failings. These junior leaders are expected to take responsibility for and learn from their mistakes. Why should those respon- sible for national security policy be held to a stan- dard inferior to the one they hold up for their subordinates?

The lessons of the 1994 White Paper should res- onate in any future evolution of Canadian national security policy.

  1. The interest-based approach, and the need for an established national security policy framework based on it, was advocated in parallel by Macnamara and FitzGerald (2002) and Maloney (2001a,b). Subsequent national security commentators have picked up the mantle, including Delvoie (2001–02) and the authors of the CDFAI report In the National Interest: Canadian Foreign Policy in an Insecure World found at http://www.cdfai.org/index2.htm

  2. For an entertaining and interesting take on the 1990s attempts to project into the future, see Directorate of Land Strategic Concept, The Future Security Environment (annex A), “Long Term Environment,” Department of National Defence.

  3. For example, Lloyd Axworthy was a proponent of these views, which are represented, in a somewhat modified form, in Axworthy (2003).

  4. The various White Papers have been collected in Bland (1997).

  5. The media event that Canadians saw on television and that the CBC called “Oka” was actually the continua- tion of what was essentially a Mohawk civil war begun in the spring of 1990. See Hornung (1991).

  6. 1994 White Paper on Defence, p. 10.

  7. Confidential interview.

  8. See Friedman (1999) for a primer on post-Cold War economic developments, crises and changes; see also Tremblay (1996).

  9. The draw-down of the army and the disbanding of the Airborne Regiment after the Somalia affair combined to produce three light infantry battalions that each had two infantry companies without mechanized vehicles and a parachute company. The original three battal- ions, 3 RCR, 3 PPCLI and 3 R22eR, were reduced on the order of battle after the close out of the Germany- based units in 1992–93. Initially the light infantry bat- talions were “10/90” battalions, where the bulk of the battalion was supposed to be made up of militia per- sonnel, then the para companies were added and slowly they worked their way back into the order of battle as regular battalions.

  10. These data are derived from a wall chart circa 1999, supplied by Air Command, listing bases, squadrons and aircraft types.

  11. Sean M. Maloney, lecture to 70 Communications Group, “The Operational Employment of the Reserves, 1945–2003,” November 21, 2003.

  12. DND backgrounder, February 2004, “Facilities Closures and Reductions.”

  13. The data in this section are drawn from Maloney (2002b).

  14. Access to Information, DND (August 24, 1993); brief- ing note to DM/CDS, “UNTAC.”

  15. Access to Information, DND (October 12, 1993); memo to DM/CDS, “Canadian Forces Participation in the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda (UNAMIR)”; (February 22, 1995); briefing note, “Situation Update: Rwanda.”

  16. The data in this section are drawn from Maloney (2002b).

  17. At this point three other infantry battalions were 10/90 battalions, mixed regular/reserve light battalions and not considered deployable by FMC HQ.

  18. This study recognizes that detailed force structure plan- ning did occur in the 1994 White Paper process and that the original drafts were less vague. The fact that these were discarded or not published means that we have to work with what was made available to the public. The exact process that produced the 1994 White Paper requires more thorough historical study than is provided here.

  19. Like that provided by Gray (1993).

  20. DND eventually paid for Dr. Mike Hennessy at the Royal Military College to attend GBN seminars in scenario analysis. Dr. Scot Robertson and the author worked with Dr. Hennessy in the creation of several scenarios for the government of Canada after the 9/11 attacks. The author was also involved in scenario/force structure develop- ment, a process initiated after the 1998 auditor general’s report stated that there was “a poor link between Defence Policy and the planning and management of the Canadian Forces capabilities.” Consequently, a Strategic Capability Planning Process was established within DGSP, which used operations and scenarios to illuminate certain critical areas related to force structuring.

  21. 1994 White Paper on Defence, p. 3.

  22. These operations are covered in two volumes edited by William J. Durch (1993, 1996).

  23. Indeed, one reviewer of this paper suggests that Canada should only have followed the American or European lead and policy in both areas and goes on to state that since neither the Milosevic nor the Hussein regimes were out for global domination, they were not really Canadian problems. This is manifest Cold War-era thinking and does not take into account the globalized economy that Canada was a part of in the 1990s and is today. The two regimes in question were odious, dangerous and abhor- rent. They threatened Canadian interests in Europe and in the Persian Gulf basin. “Strategic” and “regional” threats are one and the same in the post-Cold War era.

  24. For some personal observations overlooked by the African apologist crowd, see Klitgaard (1990); Richburg (1998).

  25. These cases are examined in Griffiths, Gimblett, and Haydon (1998).

  26. ABCA: American-British-Canadian-Australian and sometimes New Zealand. The armed forces of these countries have extensive connections at the military level related to interoperability, command and control, and doctrine. An analysis of post-1995 stabilization operations indicates that most are led by ABCA nations and almost all four ABCA nations contribute forces to those operations, whether they are conducted under the auspices of NATO, the United Nations or other coalitions.

  27. Bob Bergan brought these deficiencies to light in his paper “Balkan Rats and Balkan Bats” presented at the CDAI Students Conference held at the RMC in Kingston, Ontario, October 25, 2003.

  28. Department of National Defence (August 3, 2000), “HMCS Athabaskan Carries Out Boarding of GTS Katie”; fact sheet, “Operation MEGAPHONE: Retrieval of CF Equipment onboard GTS Katie.”

  29. Department of National Defence (January 1999) “Canada’s Participation in the NATO-led Stabilization Force in the Balkans.”

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