Wednesday, 31 January 2018


Quoted at War on the Rocks Senator John McCain has written a paper entitled “WHAT AMERICA DESERVES FROM THE NATIONAL DEFENSE STRATEGY”. In it he argues that the US must adjust to a new era of great power competition. He contends that costly and persistent counter-terrorism operations have placed enormous burdens on their military establishment. He believes that, particularly in relation to Russia and China, America’s military advantage has eroded. He reports that David Ochmanek of the RAND Corporation, testifying last year to the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that “U.S. forces could, under plausible assumptions, lose the next war they are called upon to fight.”

Senator McCain’s response to these evolving circumstances is to point out that the US cannot simply “buy its way out” of the current predicament. Instead he suggests that the civilian and military leadership in the United States has a duty to prioritize and make difficult choices about the threats they face and the missions they assign to the military. “America” the Senator points out “no longer enjoys the wide margins of power it once had over its competitors and adversaries. The United States cannot do everything it wants everywhere. It must choose. It must prioritize.”

In other words, the United States of America must now confront some of the same limitations that other countries, such as Canada, have always faced.

For the United States, Senator McCain’s prescription is to prioritize the great power competition. He believes that his country finds itself in a period of competition with near peer powers with an increased possibility of war between major powers. He suggests that failure to deter and prepare adequately for such a war would have dire consequences for the United States, their allies, and the current global order.

At the same time the Senator writes that “In the foreseeable future, the U.S. military will remain engaged in a long-term effort to counter the terrorist threat across much of the Middle East, Africa, and South and Southeast Asia. While America’s defense strategy and force development should prioritize great power competition and make informed decisions for managing risk in our other missions, it is clear the U.S. military also needs to be sized and shaped to address other ongoing regional threats and contingencies.”

He suggests that “A strategy focused on force development for great power competition would need to address priority mission sets, including offensive strike, defensive fires, sea control, air superiority, space, electronic warfare, cyber operations, and logistics in a contested environment. These are all areas in which Russia and China have made significant strides in the quantity and quality of their weapons” should be balanced with “a more sustainable approach to counter-terrorism and other military missions in largely permissive environments will require the rapid development and fielding of systems that our warfighters do not presently possess.” The Senator makes the point that continuing to use aircraft such as F-18s, F-22s, and F-35s to prosecute low-end counter-terrorism missions can only be described as overkill and that it consumes the readiness of these platforms.

The senator’s concerns can be illustrated by reports that the U.S. Airforce is using F-22 stealth fighters to bomb drug labs in Afghanistan.  Using a valuable yet finite resource such as the ‘useful life’ available in the airframes of the limited number of F-22’s to accomplish a mundane mission, in the most expensive way conceivable, is not a viable strategy for any power, no matter how great.  

If the United States of America is indeed confronting the same limitations that other countries, such as Canada, have always faced then some of Senator McCain’s recommendations must also apply to our country. Canada will have to make the difficult choices that prioritizing the threats and the missions we assign our military requires.

For Canada a strategy focused on force development for great power competition would need to address priority mission sets. In other words, what should be the core missions of the Canadian Armed Forces? 

The governments most recent policy statement on defence is, like most of its predecessors, replete with laundry lists of things that would be nice to do and short on specifics.  Perhaps the closest it comes is the following statement.

Canada’s defence policy presents a new strategic vision for defence: Strong, Secure, Engaged. This is a vision in which Canada is:

• Strong at home, its sovereignty well-defended by a Canadian Armed Forces also ready to assist in times of natural disaster, other emergencies, and search and rescue;
• Secure in North America, active in a renewed defence partnership in NORAD and with the United States;
• Engaged in the world, with the Canadian Armed Forces doing its part in Canada’s contributions to a more stable, peaceful world, including through peace support operations and peacekeeping.

At best these platitudes give us some rough guidelines on what Canada’s priorities are. They would be defence of the homeland, defence of North America in partnership with the United States and contributing to alliances and organizations in ways which promote Canadian security.

If these are indeed the ‘core missions’ of the Canadian Armed Forces they should drive spending priorities and procurement decisions. Specifically these priorities should drive the Future Fighter Capability Project.

As stated, the objective of this project is to provide a capability for the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct control of Canadian Airspace and contribute to Alliance/Coalition operations. The government requires that the systems acquired have the capability for precision Air-to-Air, Air-to-Ground and Air-to-Surface capabilities, as well as non-traditional Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance in defence of Canada, North America and expeditionary operations.

These multi-purpose capabilities are at odds with the goal of prioritizing responses to our most important threats. The aerial defence of Canada, North America and our overseas allies can be accomplished by aircraft and systems that give precedence to the Air-to-Air role. Control of Canadian Airspace does not require an Air-to-Ground or Surface capability. In a high threat environment it seems likely that the best support we can give to expeditionary operations is a robust air defence of our deployed forces or allies.

There is a place for Air-to-Ground, Air-to-Surface capabilities and non-traditional Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance capabilities when Canada encounters “ongoing regional threats and contingencies”, but it is not necessary or practical to provide these resources by using advanced, and expensive, jet fighters.

Canadian Defence Matters has long argued that a high-low mix of aircraft, and other systems, is most appropriate for Canada’s defence needs.  If we were to make our acquisition decisions based on military priorities in a world of finite resources then it would appear that the best fighter for Canada would be one which gave precedence in its design to the air defence mission.

If that aircraft were to be complemented with a lower cost aircraft for those missions deemed less essential then a future Canadian Air Force should consist of aircraft with characteristics similar to those of the Eurofighter Typhoon partnered with a smaller number of aircraft whose capabilities more closely matched those of the Textron Aviation Scorpion.

It has been said that ‘Strategy without money is not strategy’. While this is true it is also true that money spent without strategy is not strategy either. Contrary to popular opinion it is not the duty of the government to purchase the best equipment available for the Department of National Defence. It is in fact their responsibility to obtain the right capability for our armed forces.


The US Just Flew a Stealth Fighter to Bomb Drug Labs in Afghanistan

Strong, Secure, Engaged

Future Fighter Capability Project - Suppliers List Invitation

Eurofighter Typhoon | The world's most advanced combat aircraft

Scorpion - Textron Aviation

Tuesday, 23 January 2018


On 1 November 1911, during the Italo-Turkish War, Giulio Gavotti flew his Etrich Taube monoplane on a bombing raid against Ottoman military positions in Libya.  He took four grenades, each of a size of grapefruit and weighing about four pounds, and, while flying at an altitude of 600 feet, dropped three onto the Tagiura oasis outside modern Tripoli, and one more onto a nearby military camp at Ain Zara. Gavotti’s attack injured no one.

It is reported that on the night of the 6 January 2018, the Russian airbase at Khmeimim was attacked by more than a dozen drones. As yet unnamed militants used 10 armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to target the Hmeymim air base located near the Syrian city of Latakia and three more against the naval facility in Tartus. The aircraft were reportedly defeated before inflicting any casualties or damage

Commenting on the attack Major General Aleksandr Novikov, said that it showed the “emergence of a real threat of the UAV use for terrorist purposes anywhere in the world.”  The assessment of the drones also revealed that any jamming countermeasures would be ineffective. “The research showed that the avionics equipment mounted on the drones facilitated their fully automated pre programmed flight and bombing, ruling out any jamming,” Novikov said.

War, it has been said, does not change but warfare does. The way in which wars are waged changes constantly under the influences of technology and cultural forces.

Colonel (PhD) Gjert Lage Dyndal writing in NATO Review describes autonomous drones as” drones that can act based on their own choice of options” Such drones, he points out are programmed with a large number of alternative responses to the different challenges they may meet in performing their mission.

It is reported that the US and Chinese militaries are starting to test swarming drones – distributed collaborative systems made up of many small, cheap, unmanned aircraft. This new subset of independently operating or “autonomous” weapons is giving rise to new strategic, ethical, and legal questions.

The programming of these drones may, oddly enough, be based on the swarming strategies employed by some insects. Mathematical representations of ant behavior are widely used in private enterprise to optimize complex logistics problems, like delivery truck routing, computer network routing, and market analysis. Swarming intelligence is all about data exchange. As well as the direct exchange of information such systems can employ stigmergy, which is where individual parts of a system communicate indirectly by modifying the local environment. (What a submariner or his hunter might refer to as “flaming datum points”.)

While it might seem odd to program weapon systems based on the behaviors of insects it is important to remember that the insects that use these swarming strategies most successfully are considered to be, like humans, an extirpator species-meaning they deliberately seek out and destroy rival organisms (including their own species) to maintain absolute control of their territory.

Ants that utilize these stratagems are among the most successful organisms on the planet. Some analysts even suggest that such swarming strategies, when used by humans, have historically won sixty-one percent of all battles-and an even greater percentage in urban terrain. Examples would include Grozny, Stalingrad and Mogadishu of ‘Black Hawk Down’ fame.

Discussing what they refer to as Pervasive Semi-autonomous Systems in the 2009 publication Projecting power - Canada's Air Force 2035 the RCAF suggested that such “ systems will become increasingly interconnected and multi-tiered.”  They also noted that “Semi-autonomy or, in certain cases, complete autonomy will be a feature of all future platforms and systems.”  They also believe that “. Since semi-autonomous and autonomous sensors and equipment are at the heart of systems that collect data and assist in its fusion, human agency will continue to be a part of the controlling process of those systems.” It is not clear if they believe that putting the word “will” in italics insures that the future will unfold as they would like it to.

 Gavotti’s 1910 attack caused little damage but is seen by historians as the first example of what became the strategic bombing campaigns which have characterized warfare since that time.  A direct line can be drawn from his raid to the dirigible bombing raids on London during WW1 to the thousand plane raids on Berlin and Dresden of WW2 and on to the pervasive use of airpower in our own century.

In the same way the attack by what appear to be armed autonomous drones against Russian positions in Syria, for all their lack of effect, may in the future be seen as the beginnings of a new kind of warfare.

As with the dropping of bombs from heavier-then-air aircraft it would appear that the use of autonomous drones is limited not by the technology but rather the political will to develop and use politically sensitive technology. In fact the technology which would allow lethal machines to operate without being under the direct control of humans is widely available. It awaits only its first successful use.

After Gavotti’s mission, as well as further Italian bombing raids, the Ottoman Empire issued a protest. The dropping of bombs from balloons had been outlawed by the Hague Convention of 1899, but Italy argued that this ban did not extend to heavier-than-air craft. Needless to say, these protests had no effect.

Giulio Gavotti

Russian army repels attack by 13 militant drones on its Syrian compounds

Threat of terrorist drone attacks is real, says Russian military after assault on base in Syria

Autonomous military drones: no longer science fiction

The upside and downside of swarming drones

 Swarming on the Battlefield-Past, Present, and Future

Projecting power - Canada's Air Force 2035

Thursday, 28 December 2017


In a report written for the University of British Columbia Prof. Michael Byers, who is a UBC international law professor and Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law, recommends that the government end its current ship building process and relaunch an expedited procurement that would save money by using only fixed-price competitions and off-the-shelf ship designs.

Prof. Byers, whose common sense and expertise tend to alienate observers at all ends of the political spectrum, has made some startling recommendations in his report entitled “Onto the Rocks: With disaster looming, National Shipbuilding Strategy needs urgent change of course”.  In the report he argues that The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, now apparently known as the  National Shipbuilding Strategy, should be restructured.

As it stands the goal of the National Shipbuilding Strategy is to create a long-term project which will renew Canada's federal fleet of combat and non-combat vessels. Partnerships have been formed with two Canadian shipyards to deliver vessels to the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Coast Guard. It is fondly believed that this strategy will provide economic benefits to Canadians and rebuild the country’s shipbuilding industry.

Prof. Byers makes four recommendations in his report. He wants the government to:  

  •  Open-up the non-contractually-binding umbrella agreements with Irving and Seaspan.
  •  Cancel the Canadian Surface Combatant design competition and re-launch the entire procurement as an expedited fixed-price competition involving completely off-the shelf designs.
  •  Cancel the Joint Support Ship design contract and re-launch an expedited fixed-price competition for the immediate conversion of a second container ship into a supply ship.
  •  Shelve the plan to build a heavy polar icebreaker in Vancouver and launch an expedited fixed-price competition for the conversion or construction of 4-5 medium icebreakers.

Needless to say, this is not a restructuring; this is essentially throwing out the entire plan as it now stands. Byers sites mounting costs, brought about by a lack of competition and rising inflation, along with lengthening delays (for example the Joint Support Ship procurement began in 2006 but is still in the pre-construction phase, with Seaspan being awarded a contract in February 2017 to “help develop and finalize the design.”) as some of the reasons he advocates this radical shakeup.

Perhaps the most telling example of the failure of the NSS as it currently exists is the proposal by Fincantieri of Italy and Naval Group of France that, under their direction, Canada’s chosen contractor, Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, build 15 ships based on the consortium’s FREMM frigate design, which is proven and is in operation with the French and Italian navies. They are offering to guarantee the cost of the ships at a fixed $30 billion.

Essentially these companies don’t believe the current $62-billion Canadian Surface Combatant program, with all its problems, will be successful. It was their belief that the potential of $32 billion in savings for Canadian taxpayers would put pressure on the Liberal government to seriously consider the offer.

They were wrong.

In a statement dated December 5, 2017 the government through Public Services and Procurement Canada made it clear that they would not even consider “any proposals submitted outside of the established competitive process”.

Public Services and Procurement Canada have declared that “Acceptance of such a proposal would break faith with the bidders who invested time and effort to participate in the competitive process, put at risk the Government’s ability to properly equip the Royal Canadian Navy and would establish a harmful precedent for future competitive procurements.”  It is apparent to anyone reading the statement that a lengthy round of counselling and therapy will probably be needed by the public servants who were forced to deal with “Recent media coverage” which “referenced a proposal submitted outside of the established competitive process alleging the ability to deliver CSC ships at a reduced cost.”

Of course there is no way, as the statement points out, of knowing if the companies making this unsolicited offer do have the ability to deliver CSC ships at reduced costs as the Department feels that “Without common requirements and criteria, it is impossible to consistently and effectively evaluate proposals” and that “any prices cited without the context of applicable terms and conditions as indicated in the RFP (such as scope of work, divisions of responsibilities, intellectual property rights, warranties, limitations of liability, indemnities, etc.) are effectively meaningless.”

In other words, they are not willing to evaluate the proposal by the Naval-Fincantieri group because they do not really know how much it would cost and they do not know how much it would cost because they will not evaluate it. A compelling example of circular thinking that cannot be argued with.

Those in charge of procuring warships have made it patently obvious they believe that the process is more important than the outcome. Prof. Byers perceptive report has missed an important point. The National Shipbuilding Strategy is indeed headed for the rocks, but those in charge don’t really care. It doesn’t matter to them if this ‘ship’ ever arrives at its destination as long as those on the bridge never have to change the routine they have established. 

It is clear that the current program for renewing Canada’s navy is doomed to failure. What is not clear is what the consequences will be for the nation’s security.

Onto the Rocks With disaster looming, National Shipbuilding Strategy needs urgent change of course
 Michael Byers

The left needs to oppose Trudeau's military spending
Yves Engler

Canadian Defence Matters subject NSPS

National Shipbuilding Strategy

Consortium offers Canada a deal on a new fleet of frigates that could save $32 billion

Proposals submitted outside of the established competitive process will not be considered

Monday, 25 December 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Canadian Defence Matters
     Wishing you peace and joy
           as you celebrate the holiday season

Sunday, 17 December 2017

A Modest Proposal-for Preventing the Purchase of Jet Fighters from Being a Burden to the Country and for Making them Beneficial to the Tax Paying Public.

The government of Canada has recently revealed a new policy in relation to its military procurement policies. While announcing a plan to acquire used F-18 Hornets from Australia to augment current RCAF aircraft, they also stated that in future they would evaluate companies bidding for government contracts for their "overall impact on Canada's economic interests."

Proposals will not only be considered based on cost, technical requirements and industrial, technological and economic benefits as they have been in the past. In future when bids are evaluated it will include an assessment of bidder’s impact on Canada’s economic interests and any bidder “responsible for harm to Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage.” 

The government says that the announcement marks the official launch of the open, competitive process to replace Canada’s fighter jet fleet. They plan to begin by establishing a list of suppliers, followed by extensive planning and stakeholder engagement scheduled to take place throughout 2018 and 2019 followed by a contract awarded in 2022 and the first replacement aircraft to be delivered in 2025.

How much of this plan relates to reality?

 In Canada  the entire process (apart from the development of specifications) is under the  authority of  Public Works, which uses much the same process to buy fighter jets that it uses to buy any other product or service. The new policy adds yet another layer to the process of military procurement.  It is not even clear that these new policy directives are even legal under international law.

In the past Canada has struggled even to provide relatively simple search and rescue aircraft.  Even in a situation in which successive governments and the RCAF maintained that obtaining these aircraft was their most important priority it took decades to sign a contract for new aircraft. The same can be said of the almost half century search for a Sea King helicopter replacement. In both these cases it is important to remember that even at this late date there are no new aircraft actually in service.

 This is not to say that there are not competent people in the civil service but, given that they cannot even reliably pay themselves, is it possible for rational observers to really believe that there is any likelihood of the government maintaining its’ schedule and actually delivering a jet fighter, of any kind, by 2025?

The time has come for Canadians and their government to accept reality.  The truth is that, as currently constituted, we just can’t do this. We are not able to successfully navigate the intricacies that such an expensive and complex procurement calls for.

Fortunately there is a viable alternative.

We live in what might be called post-Westphalian times. Westphalian sovereignty is the principle of international law that each nation-state has sovereignty over its territory and domestic affairs. One of the founding beliefs of the Westphalian ideal was that Sovereign states had an absolute monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.

However, as Sean McFate has observed in his book “The Modern Mercenary-Private Armies and What They Mean for World Orderr” ,The Westphalian belief that war is exclusively the privilege of the state does not match historical reality. Throughout most of history, military force was marketized, and waging war with for-profit actors was normal. Wealthy individuals and groups regularly employed private armies to pursue their objectives-political power, wealth, vendetta, glory and so on-creating a free market for force in which military might was traded as a commodity and the nationality of suppliers or purchasers meant little.

In modern times, for example, the US military has become highly privatized, with contractors making up half of its force structure in theaters of was and, it is argued, short of a national draft that country can no longer fight a sustained war without private sector involvement.

In Canada the Armed Forces and the government have long recognised the benefits of what might be called contact warfare. On demand military services generally have greater utility or value then maintaining an equivalent full-time standing military force. In many cases private sector innovation can find more efficient and effective ways of military objectives, sometimes sparing blood and treasure.

For example Public Services and Procurement Canada, on behalf of National Defence, recently awarded a $480-million contract for Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS) to Discovery Air Defence Services Inc. The initial 10-year contract, with options to extend, could secure services until March 31, 2031, and the value of the contract could potentially reach $1.4 billion

The CATS program provides realistic combat readiness training to pilots and aircrew. During these exercises, the aircraft pilot will act in an aggressor role, allowing CAF personnel to learn and practise defensive tactics to deter an attack. Discovery Air personal and aircraft even provide Electronic Warfare training missions conducted by crews consisting of a Discovery Air Defence Services Pilot and a DND Electronic Warfare Officer from 414 Electronic Warfare Squadron.

 Contracts such as these usually describe the number of hours of flight time that will be available as well as the services performed during those flight hours.  There is no reason that similar contracts could not be signed, with the appropriate companies, for the air defence of North America.

Westphalian fears of a loss of sovereignty created by such a contract may be eased by the academic argument that providers of military support can be considered legitimate actors in areas of conflict. Such providers, it is argued, borrow legitimacy from the state that contracts the firm. Private firms do not operate alone; they are hired and, at least marginally, directed by a state. By using the established legitimacy of the state these firms are able to claim a degree of legal legitimacy.

Imagine the benefits to Canada and to the government. It would be up to the service provider to determine how best to provide the service. It would be the responsibility of that company to determine which aircraft were best suited for the mission and for procuring those aircraft. The service provider would be accountable for all maintenance, support, and disposal. It could be assumed that such a private military contractor (PMC) would find the least expensive and most efficient ways to achieve these ends.

Further, unlike our current system, the choices that the PMC made to achieve its contracted goals, the air defence of North America, would not be constrained by imaginary industrial policies, or regional economic balance or the need to keep impractical promises made in the heat of political campaigns.

We must accept that our government and Department of National Defence, as currently constituted, are not capable of fulfilling the task of providing the appropriate aircraft in a realistic timescale for a reasonable price needed for our defence. As long as the government of Canada and the public who elect them choose to accept that as a reasonable state of affairs then the procurement of such essential services from private military contractors becomes the only viable alternative.

Government launches open and transparent competition to replace Canada’s fighter aircraft

Replacing and Supplementing Canada's Fighters

Defence procurement strategy

Liberals' new pro-Canada procurement caveat still being figured out

Liberals pledge ‘continuous improvement’ of Phoenix in 2018 … but not a fix

The Modern Mercenary-Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order
Sean McFate

Government of Canada invests in air combat training services

414 Electronic Warfare Squadron

Doppelgangers of the State: Private Security and Transferable Legitimacy
 Martha Lizabeth Phelps

Friday, 8 December 2017


The Government of Canada has announced a plan to replace their fighter jet fleet. 
In Canada there are five stages of military equipment acquisition.   

They are Identification, Options analysis, Definition, Implementation and Closeout.

The CF-18 Replacement project is currently in Phase 2, Options analysis. In this second stage, the project team prepares a preliminary statement of operational requirement and a complete business case analysis of the options that would meet the identified capability requirement.

In this case the operational requirement is driven by the mandate that Canada requires a fighter aircraft to contribute to the safety and security of Canadians and protect the sovereignty of one of the largest expanses of airspace in the world. It has been established that the primary role for our current fighter force, the CF-18 fleet, is to protect Canadian sovereignty.

Currently the CF-18 fleet maintains a constant state of alert, ready to respond immediately to potential threats along Canada’s 200,000 km of coastline. The aircraft are also used to provide air policing during significant events in Canada.

The fighter fleet also gives the Government foreign policy options in a complex global security environment. A fighter element is often the fastest-responding capability available for dealing with international security events.

It can be argued that the most important role for our current fighter fleet in defence of Canadian sovereignty is through their participation in NORAD.  Canada has a bi-national obligation under the North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) treaty with the United States to help defend North American airspace.  The government asserts that “No other CAF asset, alone or in combination, can substitute for the critical role of an airborne interceptor.”

However NORAD is changing. If participation in NORAD is driving the operational requirement for our new fighter fleet then, as changes in that organization change the nature and degree of Canada’s participation, those requirements may change.

Dr. Andrea Charron and Dr. James Fergusson of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba writing for the Canadian Global Affairs Institute in a paper entitled “Beyond NORAD and Modernization to North American Defence Evolution” write that: The modernization side of the Evolution of North American Defense (EVONAD) is focused naturally on the next generation of the North Warning System (NWS). However, modernization entails more than the simple replacement of the aging ground-based radars. The ‘new’ NWS will require the capability to identify and track air-breathing threats far farther from North America and may well need to be able to identify maritime threats as well. This cannot be achieved simply using ground-based sensors so some mix of ground, air, space and sea-based sensors, will be required. In addition the NWS will likely move farther north, and contribute to a layered system of sensors. Including potentially down the coastlines of North America”

In the study the authors point out that if long range air-breathing cruise missiles are determined to be a threat worthy of the attention of an Evolved NORAD then there is more than one option available to deal with these weapons. The missiles can be tracked and attacked or the launch platforms themselves can be targeted by defensive forces or some combination of both techniques may be used to counter the threat.

Obviously the choices made in this situation will influence the selection of sensors, missiles and aircraft needed to achieve the desired goals. What is also clear is that to achieve the effects desired the aircraft and sensors ‘must be capable of sharing weapons quality sensor data across airborne, surface and land-based platforms.’ ‘Automated sensor cross-cueing will have to enable collaborative detection, identification and engagement of targets at long range in a contested environment.’ As well ‘an integrated fire-control policy will have to guide engagement with other services, the evolution of older platforms, the acquisition of new platforms and the development of associated doctrine and operational concepts across all services.’

The above is quoted liberally from the Australian Air Force’s Plan JERICHO which outlines that services plan to ‘Harness the Combat Potential of a Fully Integrated Force’. The primary focus of Plan Jericho is to maximize their Air Force’s delivery of joint air and space power effects.There does not appear to be an equivalent of Plan JERICHO, a long term plan to integrate all platforms which can be used to influence the delivery of air and space power effects, being used by the RCAF to inform the DND’s plan to replace their fighter jet fleet

NORAD is in a state of flux and the use to which we will be putting all our aerospace assets in the future is in doubt. Our Forces have no plan to integrate all land, air and sea platforms. Perhaps most important, unlike the goals of Plan JERICHO, there is no understanding that  strategic planning should be synchronized with both capability development and with the capability management process.

The public and the government have become fixated on the soap opera which the selection of a new fighter fleet has become but in the final analysis, without knowing how and where these aircraft will be used and without knowing how they will integrate with other sensors and platforms, the choices becomes moot and there is almost no chance of selecting the right aircraft.  

Canada announces plan to replace fighter jet fleet

The five stages of military equipment acquisition

The Role of Canada's CF-18 Fighter Fleet

Beyond NORAD and Modernization to North American Defence Evolution
by Dr. Andrea Charron and Dr. James Fergusson

Plan Plan JERICHO Program of Work

Friday, 1 December 2017


TEN DECISIONS: Canada’s Best, Worst and Most Far Reaching Decisions of the Second World War was written by Larry D. Rose. 

 Rose has worked as producer of CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and as news director at CTV Kitchener. He has also worked for The Canadian Press and Global News and served as a second lieutenant and later as a captain in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (Reserves). He is the author of MOBILIZE! Why Canada Was Unprepared for the Second World War.

 The book was published by Dundurn Press in October of this year and is described as “a fascinating examination of some of the key turning points of the war for Canada. It includes military, diplomatic and political decisions that changed the course of Canadian history. Some of them are surprising when examined today, some were little known or understood at the time and all came with sweeping, sometimes unexpected, consequences.
The book “according to the publisher “is carefully researched and authoritative but also thoughtful, entertaining and approachable.”

 The topics covered include the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, industrial policy that resulted in the revolutionary development and production of synthetic rubber and the decision to launch the Dieppe ‘raid’.

The book also focuses on some of the most powerful leaders of the war including General Guy Simonds, “Minister of Everything”, C.D. Howe and Prime Minister Mackenzie King role as an unlikely but surprisingly affective wartime leader.

One of the most interesting decisions covered here is the Ogdensburg Agreement. Never signed, existing only as a press release and often forgotten today it turned Canada from its British past to its North American future and had enormous consequences.

Equally consequential were the decisions made during and just after the war designed to prevent the return of the Great Depression and to adequately care for veterans. The effect of these various measures was to bring about a post war boom and change Canadian society forever.

J.L. Granatstein, who wrote the forward to Rose’s previous book MOBILIZE!Why Canada Was Unprepared for the Second World War” has described the books as “ Well chosen, well argued, and well-written, Ten Decisions takes a fresh look at the key Canadian events of the Second World War. The crucial military and political struggles are laid out clearly and concisely, and both novices and experts will find much to consider.”

 While it is currently fashionable to judge people and events based on contemporary standards and customs it does little to help us understand these episodes.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book, as with his previous work, is the author’s ability to help the reader to appreciate the times, politics and motives which drove these decisions and the people who made them. 

It is normal for a new book to be surrounded by hype and superlatives by its author and publisher. What is less common is for it to be true. In this case Ten Decisions actually is “researched and authoritative but also thoughtful, entertaining and approachable” and this reader really does believe that “both novices and experts will find much to consider.”

TEN DECISIONS: Canada’s Best, Worst, and Most Far-Reaching Decisions of the Second World War

MOBILIZE! Why Canada Was Unprepared for the Second  World War