Fall 2007 (Volume V, Issue III)

Promoting new understanding and improvement of Canadian foreign and defence policy.

In this issue:

Message from the President - Robert S. Millar

Welcome to the Fall 2007 issue of “The Dispatch”. The articles given in this Newsletter are diverse and as ever, thought provoking.

  1. NATO and Energy Security – Elinor Sloan. Elinor recognizes that energy is a growing area of concern and suggests the alliance’s greatest “value added” is arguably in areas more directly related to the use of military force, not political forums facilitating discussion.

  2. Afghanistan Beyond 2009 – Ray Crabbe. There are times in the history of a nation when political leadership must rise above partisan politics and political compromise, even in a minority government. Tough and gut-wrenching decisions should be made in the best interests of the country. It is now time for such a decision, says Ray.

  3. Does the Military Institution Learn? – Mike Jeffery. Mike contends that militaries, especially western militaries, do not learn strategically, or if they do, they do so at a relatively slow pace and only after failure. He provides four main reasons (The Environment, The Culture, The Leaders and The Process) leading to this situation.

  4. Countering Terrorism and “Connecting the Dots” – Eric Lerhe.  Eric defines the concept of “connecting the dots”, suggests that the United States has made significant progress in this area, and then demonstrates many of the challenges facing Canada and why little progress has been made here.

  5. Security in Canadian Courts – Reid Morden. Reid urges Canada’s judges to meet directly the new set of challenges related to the growing gorilla in the courts, brought there by today’s dangerous world of religiously driven conflicts. He offers up a proximate link between terrorism and the more familiar world of organized crime to suggest that the judiciary has dealt with significant challenges before.

  6. Can Canada Have a Grand Strategy?  – David Pratt. To the question, can Canada have a grand strategy; David is unequivocal in saying yes and offers some ideas on its content.

  7. The Prime Minister’s Latin American Initiative: Policy Shift or Continuity? - Stephen Randall. Why, asks Stephen, was a fuss made over the PM’s recent trip to four Latin American and Caribbean countries?  He answers by suggesting it had more to do with the choice of countries. He goes on to say the choice was not only sensible, but also desirable and provides the appropriate rationale to back up his thesis.

Enjoy this issue and let us know what you think about the articles.    



CDFAI New Advisory Council Member

Elinor Sloan is assistant professor of international relations in the Department of Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa, and is a former defence analyst with Canada's Department of National Defence. Dr. Sloan received her B.A. (Hons Political and Economic Science) from the Royal Military College of Canada in 1988, her M.A. (International Affairs) from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University, Ottawa, in 1989, and her PhD (International Relations) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston, in 1997.

Dr. Sloan's research interests include US and Canadian security and defence policy, US and Canadian military capabilities and force transformation, homeland security, homeland defence including ballistic missile defence, peacekeeping, NATO military capabilities, and the future role of the Alliance. She is the author of Bosnia and the New Collective Security (Praeger Publishers, 1998), The Revolution in Military Affairs: Implications for Canada and NATO (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002), and Security and Defence in the Terrorist Era: Canada and North America (McGill-Queen's University Press, October 2005).



CDFAI New Fellow

Dany Deschênes is an assistant professor at L’École de politique appliquée de l’Université de Sherbrooke. Some of his research was published in academic publications such as Études Internationales, Canadian Military Review and Paix et sécurité internationales. His recent publications are Réticence, froideur et réchauffement: la France face à la Croatie depuis l’indépendance(1991-2005), R. Lukic editors (2005), La politique étrangère croate depuis l’indépendance, Presses de l’université Laval, Quebec. He also is a columnist for Le Multilatéral, a French language magazine specialized in Canadian Foreign Policy. As an international security analyst, he worked for La Direction de la Planification et des Politiques du Ministère de la Sécurité Publique du Québec. Le département des sciences humaines de l’Université du Québec à Chicoutimi as well as le département de sciences politiques de l’Université Laval and Le Collège militaire du Canada (for the PEMPO program)often invited Mr. Deschênes for various lectures and conferences. His research reflects his numerous interests: terrorism, Canadian Defence Policy, violence and democratization, French international politics compared to the Danubian region in the 19th and 20th centuries.


CDFAI 2007 Annual Ottawa Conference

Canada as the “Emerging Energy Superpower”: Testing the Case
Ottawa Congress Centre
55 Colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario

Monday, October 29, 2007
7:30 am – 5:00 pm

Keynote Speakers:  Hon. Jim Prentice & Hon. Gary Lunn

This year’s one-day conference will examine the proposition, first put forward by Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the G8 2006 summer meeting, that Canada is becoming an “energy superpower”. The conference will also examine the implications and ramifications of such a development. The results of a national public opinion poll will be released at the conference on these themes:

  • National Poll Results
  • Life as an Energy Superpower
  • Implications for Canada-US Relations
  • Critical Energy Infrastructure
  • Protection Energy, Environment and the Arctic

The cost of this year’s conference is $225.00. The fee will include the conference session (four panels), two breaks and lunch. To register, visit the conference website here or for more information visit


2007 CDAI Symposium: Call for Papers


10th Annual CDAI Graduate Student Symposium
“Canada’s Security Interests – The Lessons of History”
Royal Military College, Kingston, ON
October 26-27, 2007

The 10th Annual Graduate Student Symposium sponsored by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDAI) in collaboration with Queen’s University, the War Studies Programme at the Royal Military College (RMC) of Canada, the DND-funded SDF Programme, General Dynamics Canada, and David Scott, will be held at RMC in Kingston, Ontario, on 26-27 October 2007.

Individuals are invited to submit a one page (maximum) proposal synopsis to [email protected] no later than 21 September 2007.  Please include the title of your presentation, your full name, institutional affiliation, program of study, and full contact information (telephone number, email address, and mailing address)

The acceptable range of presentation topics includes: national security and defence; security and defence alliances, peace enforcement, and peace support operations; conflict resolution; security and defence related economics; intra-state conflict issues; and terrorism and other non-traditional threats to security.

The winning paper will be awarded the David Scott-GD Canada Prize, valued at $3000.00. The second and third place prizes are valued at $2000.00 and $1000.00.  

(Please note that CF members who receive a full-time salary are not eligible to receive a cash prize. Their work will, however, be recognized, and a non-cash prize will be awarded in lieu.)

Funding for student presenters may be made available, upon request, to assist with travel costs.



2007 Ross Munro Media Award


Ross Munro Media Award

Nominations are invited for the 2007 Ross Munro Media Award.

The Ross Munro Media Award was initiated in 2002 by the Conference of Defence Associations (CDA) in collaboration with the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI). Its purpose is to recognize, annually, one Canadian journalist who has made a significant and outstanding contribution to the general public’s understanding of issues that relate to Canada’s defence and security.

The recipient of the Award will receive a replica of the Ross Munro statue, along with a cash award of $2,500.  

The past recipients of this prestigious award are Stephen Thorne, Garth Pritchard, Sharon Hobson, Bruce Campion-Smith, and Christie Blatchford.  

Any Canadian (or non-Canadians for that matter) may nominate a journalist for the award. Nominations must be in writing and be accompanied by a summary of reasons for the nomination, and samples of the journalist’s work. Further details are available at, click: Ross Munro Award. Nominations must be received by 1 September 2007, and should be addressed to:


The Ross Munro Media Award will be presented on Friday, 16 November 2007, at the Vimy Award dinner that will be held in the LeBreton Galley of the Canadian War Museum.   Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor-General of Canada, will be the guest of honour. For more information, including ticket orders for the Award dinner, contact the Conference of Defence Associations at: fax (613) 236-8191, e-mail [email protected], or telephone (613) 236-9903.


CDFAI Major Research Paper

A Threatened Future: Canada’s Future Strategic Environment and Its Security Implications
by J.L. Granatstein, Gordon S. Smith and Denis Stairs, will be released Monday, October 1, 2007. 



Afghanistan Beyond 2009

by Ray Crabbe

Prime Minister Harper’s pronouncement of his intention to seek consensus with the other political parties regarding the future of the Afghanistan mission is wrought with danger and makes the future of the current mission beyond 2009 somewhat problematic.

At one extreme of the political spectrum is the New Democratic Party calling for a total and immediate withdrawal and abandonment of the mission and the Afghan people. Though it is somewhat difficult to decipher the Liberal position, it appears prepared to support a continuation of Canada’s commitment, providing there is an end to combat operations and a focus on development and diplomacy – a dangerous and dichotomous approach at best.

The Liberal government assumed the tough combat role in the Kandahar region knowing full well that Canadian soldiers would become embroiled in direct combat with the Taliban. At the same time, it was well understood that Canada’s military could make a huge difference in establishing security in the region so development could occur in relative security. Given the complexity and extremely demanding circumstances under which they have been operating, the progress and performance of Canadian troops has been nothing short of remarkable. The area is far from being completely secure, but the Taliban no longer rule with impunity, and their influence over the Afghan people and the area has been very significantly reduced. The efforts of the Canadian troops alongside those of the ever-improving Afghan army have led to thousands of Afghanis returning to their homes and taking up some semblance of a normal life.

Kandahar province is without doubt NATO’s centre of gravity, and to lose it would equate to losing Afghanistan. Given the unlikely event that other NATO troops would take up the torch if Canada leaves the region as well as the projected state of training of the Afghanistan military, a huge void would be created if Canada were to abandon Kandahar. The Taliban would be back in large numbers in a heartbeat, the drug trade would flourish, and the gains made in establishing confidence and trust in the Afghani people would be lost. Kandahar must be viewed as the acid test of NATO success in the entire country.

Canadian troops are in this area because they have the confidence and trust of the Afghanis and because they are the best; because they can get the tough jobs done, just as they have under similar circumstances in previous NATO and United Nations missions. They know the area extremely well and have gained the confidence and support of the local Afghan people. They know and understand the Taliban and their tactics, and they are able to continue the arduous task of driving them out of the Kandahar region. They have broken the stranglehold on what had been the Taliban’s stronghold. To withdraw them from this task would be a serious blow to the gains made, and hence to all of NATO’s efforts in restoring the state. It would also be a blow to the sacrifices of the sixty Canadians who gave their lives knowing they were making a difference in this troubled region.

There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to winning the war in Afghanistan. Even with all the international aid and assistance pouring into the country and with the support of the most capable military alliance in the world, progress and success cannot be measured in terms of a few years. Afghanistan was in total ruins as a result of twenty-five years of continuous war and of the havoc inflicted on the country by the Taliban: no central government existed; the infrastructure was totally destroyed; millions of Afghanis were displaced and homeless; there were no national police or military forces in the country, and basic securities and citizens’ rights were non-existent. It takes years of hard work, resources, and a lot of patience to restore a failed state.

Success and progress cannot be assessed on meaningless timelines. Rather, it must be measured in terms of the extent to which various conditions have been attained: the ability of the Karzai government to exercise real political control over the country and provide the security its citizens need; the development of the economy (including the elimination of, and dependence on, the heroin trade); the protection of human rights; infrastructure development, including educational institutions; and finally, the presence of an Afghan style of democracy are critical success factors that the government of Canada should be evaluating to determine the future of the mission. All of these factors directly impact on the capacity to establish a secure environment within which Afghanistan can exist and prosper.

In deciding on Canada’s future role in Afghanistan, it is an assessment of the success and progress in these areas that must be considered. If Canada is satisfied that progress is being made in a timely way and that the end state of restoring Afghanistan as a free and democratic nation is feasible, then the mission should continue. If, however, after an impartial and non-partisan examination of these factors, progress has not been made to Canada’s satisfaction and further, is unlikely to occur, then there are grounds for withdrawing or re-examining the role of Canada’s military.

In addition, the government needs to consider the impact of its very significant contribution to date, the sacrifices of thousands of Canadian soldiers and their families, in addition to the sixty-six Canadian soldiers and diplomats killed and the many more who were permanently incapacitated, and the impact of withdrawal on our relations with NATO and the United States.

Canadian troops are in Afghanistan by invitation of the Afghan government to help them establish the level of security required to allow democracy, human rights, and the economy to grow. We are there to support our international alliances, NATO and the United Nations – the cornerstone of Canada’s foreign policy for decades, and to take on the much needed leadership roles in assisting the Afghan government with the three Ds; defence, development, and diplomacy. We are also there to protect our national interests by ensuring that Afghanistan does not again become a training ground for terrorists who can and will strike this country.

There are times in the history of a nation when political leadership must rise above partisan politics and political compromise, even in a minority government. Tough and gut-wrenching decisions should be made in the best interests of the country. It is now time for such a decision.



Does the Military Institution Learn?

by Mike Jeffery

Advanced militaries, optimized for “industrial” conflict, are experiencing significant change as they attempt to adapt to the demands of a new defence and security paradigm. The effectiveness of that transformation will depend largely on their ability to fully absorb the lessons of history and of recent operations. 

Importantly, many militaries, including the Canadian Forces, are learning tactical and operational lessons very well. Indeed, recent shifts in training doctrine have resulted in the development of a nascent learning culture. While there is still much progress to be made, the “after action review,” the key mechanism for learning lessons, is becoming an essential component of military training. However, while such progress is positive, it is only indicative of change at the lower levels, and one has to question whether such a cultural change is possible at the strategic level where the failure to learn can have much greater consequences.

Learning is often considered a personal dynamic. We each experience events from which we draw lessons. These lessons then affect how we see the world and how we act. However, learning at the strategic level must be institutional learning – recognition by the organization as a whole of either a real or potential failure or of sub-optimal performance that results in a change to the institutional ends, ways, or means.

This is not to imply that individuals are not an important aspect of the learning dynamic. Indeed, leaders are a critical factor in institutional learning. However, an individual, even a senior leader, may learn a lesson but still be unable to achieve institutional change. Without such change, no real learning has occurred.

At the strategic level, the capacity of leaders to understand problems or learn lessons is much less than at the tactical or operational level, and implementing change is much more difficult. The organization is both deliberately fragmented and larger, thus the learning environment is more complex.

Strategic leaders must deal with three main responsibilities, all of which require a learning response: development of military strategies to support the government’s defence and security objectives (including the conduct of military operations, in which learning must ensure the military adapts to the changing nature of conflict); management of the business of defence, in which learning must guide improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of the military force; and finally, development of military capabilities as part of a military vision and strategy for an uncertain future.

At the strategic level, learning must truly transcend these core military functions. While we may be focused on stability operations today, the strategic leader must ensure that institutional learning occurs in all of these functions over the short, medium, and long term. A lesson is not learned until it is part of the organizational culture.

Unfortunately militaries, especially western militaries, do not learn strategically, or if they do, they do so at a relatively slow pace and only after failure. Four main factors create this situation:

In general, the strategic environment is not conducive to learning. A learning environment is one that demands a high degree of openness and a willingness to tackle tough issues, particularly the spectre of institutional failure. Government organizations tend to be large and diverse, and each has its own interests and protective culture. Even common tasks or missions do not engender open dialogue. Despite the very strategic nature of the organization, political leaders and bureaucrats too often tend to think in tactical terms. Consequently, the level of tolerance for long-term, strategic approaches can be very low, a situation exacerbated by the lack of continuity in the political environment.

Governments also tend to focus on hot button issues. Strategic leaders often fall victim to that environment and end up being consumed by the crises of the day. While such a milieu is unlikely to change, it is critical that strategic leaders understand how to operate within it.


The Culture
By their nature, military organizations tend to have action-oriented cultures that promote doing, rather than reflective cultures that promote learning. This is not to imply that such organizations do not adapt, but they adapt on relatively short timelines based primarily on failure. In short, only when their effectiveness or strategy has been shown to be wrong, often after many attempts to prove otherwise, does change occur.

Military organizations rarely get it right in terms of being prepared for the next conflict. This is not surprising. Few find it easy to recognize new threats, and even fewer can discern the emergence of new kinds of warfare. Even if some level of insight into these emerging developments is possible, it is doubly difficult to take the crucial steps needed to dispense with tried and tested doctrines. As the old saying goes, the only thing more difficult than getting a new idea into a military mind is getting an old one out.

The problem with culture, particularly at the strategic level, is that it becomes a kind of “group think” where there is unwillingness on the part of all players to challenge the prevailing wisdom. To counter this, a culture must be created within the military that continually reflects on what has worked and what has not and then seeks new solutions to problems. At the strategic level, this means being alert to the need for changes in the operational requirement (what we do), the conceptual approach to achieving it (how we do it), but also the organizational approaches and administrative processes which will ensure continued effectiveness

Military leaders are not well prepared for strategic employment. We have done a poor job of developing strategic leaders who not only have recent relevant operational experience but who also possess the perspective and corporate experience required to be effective at the strategic level. We produce excellent self-reliant tactical leaders focused primarily on getting the job done. But the higher the level of the organization, the less impact a leader’s personal influence has on institutional learning. We need strategic leaders who think in systemic terms and, as they deal with issues, constantly lay a new institutional foundation for dealing with problems more effectively; leaders with broad historic perspectives who have intimate knowledge of government and how it works. We need leaders with the skills and discipline to accept things beyond their own experience, to stand back from today’s mission and issues, to think about the longer term, and to impose a disciplined change process on the institution.

This lack of development of strategic leaders is exacerbated by a lack of continuity, not only among strategic leaders but also among their staffs. We have a revolving door syndrome of postings at the strategic level, and we tend to rely far too much on the oral tradition for passing on experiences and lessons learned. Consequently, as a key individual moves on, all of those lessons learned move with him. The result is an almost regular cycle, not of learning, but of repeating the approaches and mistakes of the past.

Finally, there is no effective process to determine and embed strategic lessons. It stretches credibility to suggest to anyone familiar with strategic level headquarters that more process is required. We have a great deal of process: a force development process, a force generation process, a performance measurement process, and a lessons learned process. All supposedly address the needs of the organization to learn and adapt. However, these processes tend not to be connected; they are not truly owned by the strategic leaders and are, in general, not used by the strategic leaders as part of the routine “management” of the organization.

Institutional learning requires a methodology that transcends the role of individuals. Such a process must recognize that senior leaders are often far removed from the realities of today’s operations and are too busy to understand and assess the many potential strategic changes required. Such a process must analyze and present deductions in a manner which permits leaders to “learn” and to make reasoned judgments on changes required.

Effective military organizations are those which learn from their mistakes and the actions of others and adapt quickly to the changing nature of conflict. But transformation is far more than a tactical problem, and real change is not achievable unless the lessons have been learned at the highest levels.

In the final analysis, strategic learning is about creating a learning organization. While recognizing that the environment within which strategic leaders must work often cannot be changed, leaders can establish the foundation for such an organization. This requires the development of leaders with the right skills, aptitudes, and discipline to shape an adaptive institution, the establishment of a coherent doctrine which institutionalizes the learning process and, perhaps most importantly, the development of a true learning culture, where all have an openness to new ideas and a thirst for constant improvement. If that can be achieved, we can then say that we do learn.

This article is based on a presentation given during a panel presentation on “Learning at the Strategic Level” at the 2007 Queen’s University Army War College Conference “Stability Campaigns: Do We Learn?”  



Managing an Interdependent World

by Eric Lerhe

In researching the potential for NORAD to take up the maritime warning function, I was frequently led to writers who suggested that “connecting the dots” was a key element in countering terrorism. The testimony before the ongoing commission of inquiry into the Air India bombing also made it clear Canada has had particular problems in this area. Indeed, one witness argued that a failure to “connect the dots” between readily available intelligence data was likely why we were unable to prevent this attack.1

The “connecting the dots” phrase gained widespread use with the release of the report of the 9–11 Commission investigating the 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon.1 While not precisely defined, the report described “connecting the dots” as the ability of analysts to “draw relevant intelligence from anywhere in the government” about terrorist activity, see the relationships between key elements, and identify opportunities to defeat it.3 Significantly, the commission’s report identified ten separate “missed opportunities” where, had the CIA and FBI shared data about the 9/11 plotters, analysts would have been able to connect the dots and thwart the attacks.4

The 9–11 Commission proved conclusively that these large, lavishly funded, American agencies had collected all the intelligence details needed to do exactly that. However, the information was contained within narrow departmental stovepipes, shared grudgingly – if at all – with other agencies, and controlled by a strict “need to know” protocol. This approach completely stymied any analytical effort to sift through all the data that was held on al-Qa’ida suspects worldwide and then connect it to the activities of the nineteen terrorists preparing the 9/11 attack. The commission concluded by noting that ”the importance of integrated, all source analysis cannot be overstated. Without it, it is not possible to ‘connect the dots.’ No component holds all the relevant information.”5

Since then, the United States has made significant progress in integrating its analysis effort and encouraging a shift from a “need to know” to a “need to share” information regime. Federal law – the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act – mandates an improved approach to the way information regarding terrorist activity is shared. Further, the act directs the creation of an “Information Sharing Environment” (ISE) with mechanisms and policies to share data across government agencies while also protecting privacy and civil liberties. The system is not perfect, and the United States government admits to gaps with state and local authorities.6 However, today Americans can go to the <> website to read the entire information-sharing policy, including the procedure to seek redress should citizens wish to challenge the data the government holds on them. 

Such is not the case in Canada – far from it. While some isolated mechanisms have been set up to improve information sharing by grouping representatives from government agencies in an Integrated Threat Assessment Centre, Maritime Security Operations Centres, and Integrated Border Enforcement Teams, we do not seem to have a government policy on sharing terrorist intelligence. The 2004 National Security Policy contains nothing on data sharing beyond the usual bromides regarding the need to eliminate “organizational silos” and create an “integrated national security system.”7 There is no description of such a system, its data sharing rules, the incentives and sanctions which reinforce it, or even a basic schedule for implementation.

While the assembly of various intelligence, military, and law enforcement agents into new operations centres and integrated teams will improve coordination, there are limits regarding what can be achieved without detailed policy. As an example, the 2004 National Security Policy directed the creation of multi-department Marine Security Operations Centers (MSOC) in the Atlantic, Pacific, and St. Lawrence regions. It mandated they be “headed by Canadian Forces Maritime Command” and that they “include staff from the CBSA [Canadian Border Services Agency], Transport Canada, the RCMP, and the Canadian Coast Guard.”8 In 2006, Transport Canada reaffirmed that vision, stating that “MSOC personnel [should] use the collaborative work environment to enhance their information sharing and analysis capability.”9 This directive supports the connecting the dots strategy. 

However, after a promising start in the Atlantic MSOC, progress elsewhere has been hit or miss. A visiting Senate committee to the Pacific MSOC in 2006 discovered “that most of the people occupying seats in the facility had never been in the building before – they had been gathered in haste to try to demonstrate that the centre was operational.”10 This was corrected in 2007, but it is not yet clear when the MSOC in the Great Lakes will be fully operational, and only two of the five required departments are currently operating there.11 It would seem some elements of the security bureaucracy are choosing to remain in their “organizational silos” for as long as possible, given that no detailed government direction holds them to a schedule.

Even when all the departments assemble in one spot, not all of them can share data. An officer at one MSOC reported that “[a]nything collected under the auspices of the Customs Act cannot be shared with any other department. It can be as benign as the name of a ship.”12 In response to these types of problems, that same Senate committee concluded: “Canada’s perimeter cannot be defended with a series of dots, some of them all but invisible. The dots have to be real, and they have to be connected.”13

This failure to share data is not limited to the marine security area, as testimony before the Air India inquiry is now demonstrating. Even if James Bartleman’s testimony is doubted, it is now clear that accurate information on the Sikh terrorist threat from the Indian government and our own External Affairs officials was ignored by the RCMP and the CSIS. Five days before Air India Flight 182, when CSIS did elevate the threat warning of Sikh terrorism to “high,” this warning was not passed on to the RCMP teams at Pearson and Mirabel.14 Testifying at the Air India inquiry, retired Deputy Commissioner Jensen of the RCMP concluded that “there were some dots that could have been linked and should have been linked.” Had that been done, the Air India attack “might have been prevented.”15 Significantly, he recommended that politicians today do more to improve timely information sharing between the CSIS and the RCMP. 

In spite of this, recent witnesses from the Privy Council Office and Public Safety Canada appearing before the Special Senate Committee on the Anti-Terrorism Act have suggested government has made “great progress” since the Air India bombing. However when asked who was responsible for drawing together all the relevant data on a developing threat (connecting the dots), the replies were not reassuring. A series of elliptical responses suggested that “PCO,” “representatives from the different agencies,” then “the Integrated Threat Assessment Centre,” and finally, “a number of agencies and government departments that have sources of information” were all to be considered “responsible.”16 Perhaps frustrated, the questioning Senator then directly asked the PCO official, “Are you the person who brings all the silos together? Is it PCO that does that?” Ever nimble, the PCO official admitted they did, but added that Public Safety “shares” that responsibility, although “it is mostly the RCMP and CSIS.” Neither clear responsibility for coordinating the diffuse departmental data nor a process to do so was ever clarified during this testimony, despite the most pointed questioning possible.

If information sharing is problematic within Canada, it is now certainly no better with our allies, according to some. In one of the rare, official acknowledgements of the problem, the combined Canadian/American military team studying maritime information sharing found the following: “Although national laws and policies permit the sharing of information, this direction is not routinely being followed at the mid-level management and analyst level …”17

Regrettably, the task for improving Canadian/American information sharing has likely been made considerably more difficult after the deportation and torture of Maher Arar. Indeed, those commenting on any new information regime, including the proposed Canadian ”no-fly” list, now regularly cite this case as an example of the danger of sharing data with the United States.18

According to Jack Hooper, a senior official who recently left CSIS, a ponderous oversight system and the results of unnamed “judicial inquiries” have made it “difficult to connect the dots when the whole page is black.”19 One must suspect that part of that official’s concerns stems from the now very public advertising of CSIS and RCMP information sharing shortcomings during the Air India and Arar inquiries. On the other hand, one must also accept that a certain chill has undoubtedly arrived within the wider security bureaucracy as a result of these inquiries. It is possible, therefore, that risk aversion now significantly trumps openness and the willingness to share sensitive data. 

As a result of these numerous information sharing problems, Ken MacQueen and John Geddes argue that a full commission similar to Justice Major’s Air India inquiry is long overdue. It is their sense that Canada is more exposed to terrorist threats today because we have, until now, not done the kind of exhaustive review achieved by the 9–11 Commission. Rather, Canada largely ignored the problem after Air India: “Canadian authorities, for reasons both valid and dubious, had no stomach for such reflection, what mistakes were made, what lessons were learned – if lessons were learned – have been stamped “Secret” and buried deep.”19

While one hopes for the very best in Justice Major’s investigation, some of the factors outlined in this brief article suggest he may have great difficulty achieving anything comparable to what the 9–11 Commission accomplished with respect to improving the United States government’s ability to connect the dots. First, many will suggest that there are immense legal challenges to sharing some kinds of data. Moreover, any proposal that existing data control legislation might be loosened will be opposed by a legal community that will argue for the strictest possible interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Second, efforts to improve international data sharing will be enormously complicated as a result of the Arar affair. Further, those arguing against a better data exchange regime with the United States will also find ready support amongst that element of the Canadian public that is easily swayed by anti-American rhetoric. Third, elements in the security and intelligence bureaucracy are proving themselves hesitant to share information, slow to leave their “silos,” and not terribly supportive of the inquiry process. As was noted earlier, one of its members suggested the inquiries themselves are hampering efforts to share data.21 Elsewhere, attempts to deny or delay evidence in the name of national security almost derailed the Air India Commission of Inquiry.21

In addition to the impediments outlined above, Canadian politics must still be addressed. In this regard, it was encouraging to see the current government had the strength to overrule its bureaucracy’s unwillingness to provide evidence to the Air India Commission. Yet it is also clear the terrorist threat to Canada has not proven sufficiently perilous to force a bipartisan approach to countering terror. Significantly, the American report’s success relied on bipartisan support. In Canada the major political parities remain deeply divided over such key elements as the Anti-Terrorism Act. According to one respected analyst, “senseless politicking” guides many of their responses.23 Therefore, no matter how compelling Justice Major’s final report, there is little hope that any minority government will be able to form the bipartisan consensus needed to implement its policy recommendations. We should thus expect continuing problems with respect to connecting the dots.


1. The witness was retired Deputy Commissioner Jensen of the RCMP. See Jeff Sallot, “Air India Bombing: Intelligence Breakdown Left Dots Unconnected, Ex-Mountie Says,” Globe and Mail (19 June 2007), A8.
2. The 9–11 Commission Report – T
he National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States, <> accessed 28 July 2007.
3. See <> accessed 3 June 2007.
4. See <> accessed 3 June 2007.
5. Ibid.
6. Jane Hovarth (Chief, Privacy and Civil Liberties Office, Department of Justice), Information Sharing in the War on Terror (Powerpoint Brief) at < publicsafety2007/ppt/Robbin_Mark_PublicSafety2007.ppt> accessed 9 July 2007.
. Government of Canada, Securing an Open Society: Canada’s National Security Policy, (Privy Council Office, 2004), 18, 9; see also pp. VII, 10.
8. Ibid. 37–38.
9. Government of Canada, Transport Canada Response to Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security, cited in Canadian Security Guide Book 2007 Edition, Coasts – A Report of the Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security (First Session, 39th Parliament, March 2007), 13.
10. Ibid. 13–14.

11. See the RCMP’s description of its very limited “interim MSOC” at <http:/> accessed 22 July 2007.
12. Chris Thatcher, “A Pan-government Approach to Marine Security,” Vanguard (Knowledge Center, Defence, 2006) at
<http:/> accessed 30 May 2007.
. Canadian Security Guide Book, 17.
14. Ken MacQueen and John Geddes, “Air India: After 22 Years, Now’s the Time for Truth – Like 9/11, It Might Never Have Come Off if Canada’s Experts had Heeded the Signs.” Macleans (28 May 2007) at <> accessed 7 July 2007.
15. Kim Bolan, “Police Failures Resulted in Air India Disaster: Inquiry,” CanWest News Service (18 June 2007) at <> accessed 17 July 2007.
16. Government of Canada, Issue 6 – Evidence (Special Senate Committee on the Ant-terrorism Act, 4 June 2007) at
<http://www.parl.gc.ca39/1/parlbus/comm./bus/senate/com-e/anti-e06ev-e/htm> accessed 9 July 2007.
. Ibid.; Bi-National Planning Group Final Report on Canada – United States (CAN/U.S.) Enhanced Military Cooperation (Peterson A.F.B, Colorado: Bi-National Planning Group, 13 Mar. 2006), C-7.
18. Jim Brown, “No-fly List Could End Up in Foreign Hands, Air India Probe is Told.” CBC News (5 June 2007) at <http:/> accessed 17 July 2007.
. Colin Freeze, “State Agents Say Inquests Causing ‘Judicial Terrorism‘,” Globe and Mail (9 June 2007), A4.
20. MacQueen and Geddes, Macleans (28 May 2007).
21. As noted previously in Freeze, “State Agents.”22. Ibid.; “Air India Inquiry No Longer a Sedate Roundup of Facts,” Canadian Press (22 May 2007) at <> accessed 12 July 2007. Here, one must contrast the Canadian bureaucratic response with the obvious ability of the 9–11 Commission’s ability to dig into the most secret of intelligence files as it catalogued such things as the ten failed intelligence sharing incidents.  23. Wesley Wark, “Parliament Pokes Itself in the Eye – Senseless Politicking is About to Deprive Canada of Two Potentially Very Valuable Weapons in the Fight Against Terrorism,” Ottawa Citizen (16 Feb. 2007) at <> accessed 16 Feb. 2007.



Security in Canadian Courts

by Reid Morden

The divide between the investigative powers necessary for law enforcement and those necessary to protect national security is not an obvious one. However, while both of these spheres of official activity are carried out under the umbrella of the rule of law, they are quite distinct from one another and their needs and requirements differ substantially.   

Stanley A. Cohen, Senior General Counsel, Department of Justice

Canadian judges are today seriously and legitimately concerned by the state of security in their courts and courtrooms, so much so that the topic was on the agenda of the recent meeting of the Canadian Bar Association in Calgary. Their worries stretch from retribution from biker gangs to confrontation between rivals in organized crime to disgruntled parties in highly emotional family disputes.

They are, however, only just becoming aware of the growing gorilla in the court, brought there by today’s dangerous world of religiously driven conflicts and the responsive body of laws Canada has enacted to counter terrorist activity on our soil. Anti-terrorism cases will increasingly add a potentially dangerous dimension to their daily workload. Yet there is possibly no sector where it is more necessary for the judiciary to grasp the nettle and deal with terrorism issues firmly and directly in all our courts.

Judges, along with other Canadians, have undoubtedly reflected on the elaborate security measures taken in the recent Air India trial which gave some indication of what may become de rigueur in courtroom architecture and processes when trying cases where violence is never far removed. With this in mind, they would be less than human if they did not at least reflect on what has become a distressing trend on the United States Federal bench.

Judges there, when faced with security or terrorist issues, have often essentially said – “that’s above my pay grade and anyway, surely the Federal government is in the best position to judge.” We have seen this recently when a Federal judge dismissed Mahar Arar’s civil suit on the grounds that the issues of national security and foreign policy it raised were special factors beyond the competence of that particular court. In Canada, especially in ight of recent Supreme Court decisions, there may well be a similar propensity on certain benches – particularly with respect to the will to detain foreign terrorist suspects.

It is not that Canada is a stranger to security and intelligence issues. It has a long history in the Security Intelligence Proceeding from a succession of threats, real and perceived, to the territory we now call Canada even before 1867. Nor is Canada any stranger to politically-motivated violence (e.g., the murder of a Turkish military attaché in Ottawa, the smuggling of bomb detonators out of Canada by Provisional Irish Republican Army [PIRA] supporters, and the Air India bombing). It is simply that such cases were relatively rare, and their appearance in Canadian courts even rarer.

However, 9/11 ushered in a new age of terrorism as the terrorists effectively demonstrated that every country in the world is vulnerable to attack. An activist foreign policy, which includes support for Israel, makes Canada a “legitimate” target for those who see Israel’s disappearance in the creation of a Palestinian homeland. In addition, the very size of our energy exports to the United States (greater than the oil America receives from Saudi Arabia) makes Canadian energy production and distribution systems targets of opportunity and vulnerability. There are, as well, substantial numbers in Canada who are sympathetic to the fundamentalist Islamic message; sympathy which can lead to many forms of expression, including the planning and perpetration of an attack on Canadian soil. And finally, Canada has the dubious distinction of being included on lists of adversaries by both bin Laden and Hezbollah.

In the weeks following 9/11, the Canadian government revamped its security legislative framework. Many believe that the result forms an effective basis that allows intelligence and security agencies to act. Others have significant concerns about the balance between protection/security of the state and its citizens, and preservation and observance of the latter’s rights, including those of legitimate advocacy, protest, and dissent. Recent actions in Parliament and judgments in the Supreme Court suggest that elements of excess can be found in the legislation and more generally in the security regime.

For many in the judiciary, these issues will be unfamiliar in a courtroom setting. There is, however, a proximate link between terrorism and the judicially more familiar world of organized crime. Organized crime is often defined as activities driven by the desire for financial gain while terrorism constitutes activities driven by political or social goals. Perhaps. But they are increasingly not far apart. There are many parallels with respect to their aims and objectives, as well as their lines of business, for example, money-laundering and drug running. Terrorist and organized crime groups also often overlap and intersect.

As complicated as all this may sound, and as unfamiliar as many of the factors associated with security/terrorism cases may be, I urge Canada’s judges to meet this new set of challenges directly. There is a role to play, one both prophylactic and remedial. It is a role which cannot be left solely to the discretion and disposal of the executive or legislative arms of government.

In this latter context, the state begins most security cases with a substantial advantage, claiming the need for secrecy because of possible damage to the country’s foreign policy interests and the resultant dangers if intelligence methods are disclosed. It might well be a minefield, but it is one which must be traversed if the balance is to be struck between the interests of the state and the rights of the individual.

Delving behind the government’s cloak of secrecy may in fact be one of the most complex tasks judges will face. Otherwise, our intelligence organs (CSIS – CSE – RCMP) are bound by our laws which are quite transparent, and those charged will often be brought to court under Criminal Code provisions, which will be generally familiar territory for judges. Even here, however, security issues may bring dimensions to criminal cases that go beyond the familiar and beyond precedent, at least in Canada.

Jurisdiction and venue may well also be considerations. Canada is just at the opening act of this drama and may not have determined what will provide the most effective means to deal with these issues. Perhaps there should be a tribunal to hear security/terrorism cases, or conceivably, designated judges (as happens now in the Federal Court) in different jurisdictions who will gain the necessary expertise. Whatever the solution, it must also obviate, to whatever extent possible, the ability of either side of the case to go “forum-shopping.”

Finally, we should remind ourselves that “The real test of our values as Canadians is in how they guide us in times of crisis, whether through military, intelligence, policing, administrative or legal responses” (Hon. Ron Atkey, former Security Intelligence Review Committee Chair).2


1 tanley A. Cohen, Privacy, Crime and Terror, Legal Rights and Security in a Time of Peril (London: LexisNexis Butterworths, 2005), 52. 
2 Hon. Ron Atkey. 3rd International Law Conference, Canadian Bar Association, Ottawa, ON, May 2002.



Can Canada Have a Grand Strategy?

by David Pratt

Typically, the mention of “grand strategy” conjures up images of generals and admirals in smoke filled rooms pouring over very large maps and plotting the movements of army corps, naval task forces, and massed formations of aircraft. As a practical concept, grand strategy seems perfectly plausible for today’s great powers – the United States, China, and Russia. But the idea of promoting a grand strategy for Canada would, it seem, leave one open to accusations of “delusions of grandeur.” Some might even suggest that the entire concept is “un-Canadian” in many respects.

While grand strategies do indeed have a military component, they entail much more than just defence and security. Far from being the exclusive domain of great powers, there are some rather compelling arguments to suggest that countries large and small should possess a grand strategy. Yale Professor Paul Kennedy, author of the highly acclaimed The Rise and Fall of Great Powers and Grand Strategies in War and Peace, has promoted the view that  

the crux of grand strategy lies in policy, that is, in the capacity of the nation’s leaders to bring together all of the elements, both military and nonmilitary, for the preservation and enhancement of the nation’s long term (that is, in wartime and peacetime) best interests … it operates at various levels, political, strategic, operational, tactical, all interacting with each other to advance (or retard) the primary aim.

Throughout our history, the preservation and enhancement of Canada’s long-term best interests have been within the protective confines of British, American, and/or NATO grand strategies. The wars we have fought, from the Boer War to the current Afghan conflict, were all part of a similar security architecture where Canada’s protection was inextricably tied to the defence of a wider community. By the middle of the last century, that wider community was the “North Atlantic Triangle,” a metaphor constructed by the great Canadian historian John Bartlet Brebner who identified a community of shared values and interests among Canada, the United States, and Britain. More recently, political scientist David Haglund has appropriately broadened that community of interests to include the balance of Europe.

The preservation of these links was at the forefront of Canadian policy and very much in evidence in NATO’s early years. During the golden age of Canadian diplomacy in the late forties and early fifties, Canada successfully promoted (through Article II of the Washington Treaty) the proposition that NATO must be more than simply a military alliance. In doing so, Canada was clearly pursuing its own grand strategy. It was a strategy which eschewed American unilateralism and endorsed a multilateral security framework. Still, it was complementary to, and supportive of, the overall Allied grand strategy of “containment.” At the time, Canadian grand strategy demonstrated how a small or middle power, under the right circumstances, could wield power and influence well beyond what its population and economic size might generally warrant.

Following the demise of the Soviet Union, the Unites States, Canada, and other NATO allies entered a period where the absence of a single organizing principle such as anti-communism led to what could be described as “strategic ambiguity.” Indeed, even post 9/11, there is a strong view that this strategic ambiguity continues and that the United States lacks a grand strategy. Stephen Biddle of the Strategic Studies Institute of the United States Army War College, for instance, has argued that, in the so-called “War on Terror,” the United States has not carefully defined the threat, its interests, and what “end state” it desires.  The American administration has:  

combined ambitious public statements with vague particulars as to the scope of the threat and the end state to be sought. This combination of ambition and ambiguity creates important but unresolved tensions in American strategy … Eventually something has to give – the ambiguity in today’s grand strategy is fast becoming intolerable.

So where does that leave Canadian grand strategy in the twenty-first century? Canada and other NATO allies look to the United States for leadership on strategic issues. When that leadership is absent, Canada’s strategic objectives suffer. Whether we like it or not, on a geo-strategic level, we are joined at the hip with the Americans, and more broadly, with our NATO allies. Can Canada have a grand strategy? Absolutely. Such a strategy must focus on strengthening the ties between Europe and North America and must make common cause with our NATO partners in the hope of shaping the United States’ future grand strategy. Above all else, it is in Canada’s long-term, best interests to preserve “the community of shared values” that is NATO and the North Atlantic community.



The Prime Minister’s Latin American Initiative:Policy Shift or Continuity?

by Stephen Randall

In early July of this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially undertook what can only be described as a whirlwind, six-day tour to several Latin American and Caribbean countries, namely Colombia, Chile, Barbados, and Haiti. The Prime Minister’s stated objectives were to “bolster Canada’s relationship” with the region as well as to showcase his leadership, promote Canadian economic interests, and reinforce Canadian commitments to humanitarian assistance. Many analysts expressed uncertainty regarding whether the initiative was simply an effort on the part of the Harper government to make a statement about Canadian interests in countries other than the United States, Mexico, or Afghanistan (which have thus far absorbed much of the time, energy, and collateral of the current government), or if it might represent either a continuation of Canada’s current foreign policy, or a departure from it.

A strong argument can be made that the initiative is entirely consistent with the orientation of past Conservative and, indeed, Liberal governments in the region. It was Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government that finally brought Canada into the Organization of American States in 1989 following four decades of Canadian waffling and half-hearted engagement with OAS activities. The Mulroney years also coincided with the Central American crisis in Nicaragua, and although the Prime Minister may have been singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” with the American President in Quebec city at the time, Minister of Foreign Affairs Joe Clark was simultaneously working very successfully with the Contadora Group to find a peaceful, non-American solution to the Nicaraguan conflict. It was also Mulroney’s government that concluded the negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which resulted in closer relations with Mexico. Despite Liberal blustering while out of office over both the U.S./Canada FTA and NAFTA, once in power, the Chrétien Liberals did nothing to alter either agreement. Indeed, a great deal of effort has gone into expanding NAFTA since the early 1990s. Canada hosted a very successful, if somewhat riotous, Summit of the Americas in Quebec City during the Liberal years, and as recently as August 2007, the Harper government hosted the North American Summit with his American and Mexican counterparts at Montebello. Below the prime ministerial radar screen, Canadian businesses, NGOs, academics, and governments have been extremely active in Latin America for several decades, reflected in small part by the establishment of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas and by a growing number of Latin American Studies programs at colleges and universities across the country. It is often overlooked that Elections Canada has been an important and active player in the promotion of electoral reform and democratization in the region, including the regime-changing election in Nicaragua in 1990 through collaborations with the UN, the OAS, and the Carter Center in many other elections since then. Although its budgets have been slim, CIDA has also made a significant contribution to a wide range of development projects in Latin America, with a particular focus on promoting human rights. In 2004–05, CIDA allocated almost $14 million to development projects in Colombia, with much of the funding allocated to programs for the protection of children.

So, why the fuss from critics over the most recent Harper initiative, seen to be important enough to receive detailed, as well as positive, coverage in the Economist 12 July 2007? The answer lies essentially in the Prime Minster’s choice of countries for his first major venture into the region, although a closer (as well as less politically-biased) examination indicates that the choice was not only sensible, but desirable. Chile and Canada are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the conclusion of a free trade agreement, and the country has effectively regained its rightful place as one of the leading democracies in the region. Haiti, the basket case of the hemisphere, has long been a target of Canadian assistance and involvement, receiving both positive and negative contributions (including sending troops in 2004 as part of a controversial UN operation to remove a government). Barbados is without controversy, a gem-like remnant of the British Caribbean. That leaves Colombia, and Harper’s choice of Colombia has been the source of much of the contention that his government has no respect for human rights and that the pursuit of a free trade agreement with a beleaguered Uribe government is wrong as well as badly timed. But the critics are simply wrong on this one. Anyone who has spent some forty years, as this author has, working on and in Colombia is aware of the challenges that country has faced since the late 1940s, especially with the emergence at the end of the 1970s of the dangerous combination of narcotics and insurgents in addition to right wing paramilitaries. However, the problems facing the country are not driven solely, or even primarily, by the government. Critics should look at Colombian opinion polls about the causes of conflict. It was FARC, not government forces, who murdered eleven departmental politicians in July. The Prime Minister was absolutely correct to suggest that it would be an error for Canada to turn its back on a troubled country which has nonetheless had a consistent record since the 1960s of democratically elected governments. The previous Liberal government worked actively to promote a peaceful solution to the conflict, and it is appropriate for the Harper government to maintain that goal even as it works to strengthen economic ties. 



NATO and Energy Security

by Elinor Sloan

At a major NATO conference on energy security in early 2006, Poland presented a proposal to create a new alliance that would oblige NATO members to act together in the face of future energy security threats. The proposal did not go very far, but U.S. Senator Richard Lugar picked up the broad idea later that year. In a keynote speech to the NATO summit conference in Riga in November 2006, he argued that defending against attacks using energy as a weapon should be a NATO commitment under Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty. But the devil is almost certainly in the details. The official response by NATO Heads of State and Government was to task the Council in Permanent Session to consult on energy security, and define those areas where NATO may add value


Possible NATO roles
One area where NATO might add value with respect to energy security is diplomatic engagement. Since the end of the Cold War, the Alliance has undergone a substantial “diplomatic transformation” which, although not driven by energy security, ensures that NATO is currently well placed to address the energy concerns of its members using diplomatic means. But given the existence of other key political forums like the European Union and the G-8, the Alliance’s greatest “value added” may be in areas more directly related to the use of military force.

A possible military role might be the protection of critical energy infrastructure, including oil and gas pipelines, oil-drilling rigs, and oil refineries. Al-Qa’ida has explicitly threatened to attack what Osama bin Laden calls the “hinges” of the world economy, including critical energy infrastructure. Pipelines – through which 40 per cent of the world’s oil flows – are especially vulnerable to terrorist activity because they travel thousands of miles over what is often volatile territory, and thus are difficult to protect. In the Caucasus in 2006, for example, a major oil pipeline opened that starts in Azerbaijan and goes through Georgia to a Turkish port on the Mediterranean. This pipeline is considered an attractive route to world markets because it does not travel over Russian or Iranian territory, and it does not require tankers to pass through the heavily congested Bosporus Strait. The area is, however, full of ethnic, religious, and political tensions. Some outside measures are already being taken to improve security in the region, yet the current combination of technology and largely intermittent patrols is thought to be insufficient to ensure the security of the line. Members of NATO have raised the possibility of using earth observation satellites or unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor developments in places like the Caucasus where energy resources could come under threat. But there may also be a role for Alliance military forces.

Maritime operations could also form part of NATO’s future role in energy security. Every day, some 4,000 tankers ship about 60 per cent of world oil supplies to their markets. Geography dictates that all of these tankers must pass though at least one of a handful of narrow straits around the world. Because oil tankers, as well as the growing number of liquid natural gas tankers, are slow moving and largely unprotected, they make a relatively easy target for terrorists. Disabling an oil tanker in one of these maritime “choke points” could block the transit of other tankers for several weeks because of the spreading oil slick, and thereby impact world oil markets dramatically. Shipping lanes and critical choke points that are insufficiently covered by national assets – such as the Strait of Malacca between Indonesia and Malaysia – could be monitored by NATO’s navies.


Energy security and military transformation
Maritime operations to secure ocean supply routes and land-based operations to protect critical energy infrastructure are possible future NATO military missions. Given this, the question arises as to whether NATO has, or is, developing the appropriate forces to carry out such missions. Since the mid-1990s, NATO, led by the United States, has been engaged in a process of “transforming” its military forces. The overall emphasis is on the creation of smaller army units equipped with lighter, more mobile equipment and precision force capabilities that can deploy rapidly to trouble spots around the world. On the navy side, the focus is on the development of forces suited to maritime interdiction and littoral operations. In the past few years, the parameters of military transformation have expanded to include an increased emphasis on special operations forces, as well as on counter-insurgency and stability and reconstruction operations.

A number of aspects of force transformation may be relevant to future NATO military roles in the area of energy security. Ground forces that can deploy rapidly to a crisis situation involving an oil or natural gas pipeline would be useful, as would naval forces that can monitor maritime choke points and respond to threats. NATO’s new Rapid Response Force could facilitate both roles. This force of up to 25,000 personnel, which was declared fully operational at the last NATO summit, combines land, sea, air, and Special Operations Forces. In the event of a threat to critical energy infrastructure or in the case of an actual crisis situation such as a terrorist strike that disables a pipeline, part of the force could deploy to one of the many small bases the United States is establishing in an area stretching from the Balkans to the Caucasus and Central Asia. From these bases, the NATO force could then deploy to the crisis area to re-establish security around the pipeline.

Access to strategic airlift is central to any rapid deployment capability. It is significant, therefore, that NATO members reached an agreement at Riga under which a number of NATO countries will jointly purchase three or four of America’s C-17 airlifters. Many European countries are also getting a smaller air transporter (the A400M) beginning in 2010. And Canada, of course, is buying C-17s. In addition, a key component of NATO’s response to threats to energy infrastructure would likely be special operations forces. Since 9/11, many NATO countries have increased the size of their special forces. This is true most notably of the United States, but countries like Britain, Canada, and Australia have also sought to double their previous Special Forces capacity. At the Riga summit, allies launched a Special Forces transformation initiative intended to increase the ability of the forces of individual NATO countries to train and operate together.

The naval platforms needed to monitor maritime choke points are consistent with those necessary for littoral warfare. Terrorists, like criminals and drug smugglers, often move along the coasts transporting supplies, weapons, and personnel. Frigates are the existing naval platform best suited to what has been described as “the global coast guard role” of maritime interdiction operations, and most NATO navies have frigates. Moreover, small diesel-electric submarines possessed by some NATO countries, such as Canada, may be useful platforms for transporting Special Forces to offshore oil rigs seized by terrorists. But critics contend that NATO navies are still mostly configured for the Cold War. The argument is that the Alliance has a maritime surveillance capability that was designed to keep track of large Soviet warships – not to intercept terrorists using rubber dinghies. In fact, the frigate is thought to be impractical for patrolling close to shore because of its size. The United States Navy is developing a new class of ship, the Littoral Combat Ship, which is a smaller, faster vessel specifically designed for terrorist interdiction. It is possible that other NATO navies will also do so.


Energy security is a growing area of concern today. Diplomacy will be an important dimension of addressing energy security concerns and NATO, almost by coincidence, has many relevant political forums that could facilitate discussion of the issue. But given the existence of other key political forums, the Alliance’s greatest “value added” is arguably in areas more directly related to the use of military force. NATO forces could protect pipelines or respond to crises in places like the Caucasus, or it could use its naval forces to monitor critical shipping choke points. Elements of NATO’s force transformation are relevant to these activities – but more changes will be necessary if energy security is to become a future mission for the Alliance. 


About Our Organization

Institute Profile
CDFAI is a research institute pursuing authoritative research and new ideas aimed at ensuring Canada has a respected and influential voice in the international arena.

CDFAI is a charitable organization, founded in 2001 and based in Calgary. CDFAI develops and disseminates materials and carries out activities to promote understanding by the Canadian public of national defence and foreign affairs issues. CDFAI is developing a body of knowledge which can be used for Canadian policy development, media analysis and educational support. The Fellows program, a group of highly experienced and talented individuals, support CDFAI by authoring research papers, responding to media queries, running conferences, initiating polling, and developing outreach and education projects.

Mission Statement
To be a catalyst for innovative Canadian global engagement.

CDFAI was created to address the ongoing discrepancy between what Canadians need to know about Canadian foreign and defence policy and what they do know. Historically, Canadians tend to think of foreign policy – if they think of it at all – as a matter of trade and markets. They are unaware of the importance of Canada engaging diplomatically, militarily, and with international aid in the ongoing struggle to maintain a world that is friendly to the free flow of people and ideas across borders and the spread of human rights. They are largely unaware of the connection between a prosperous and free Canada and a world of globalization and liberal internationalism. CDFAI is dedicated to educating Canadians, and particularly those who play leadership roles in shaping Canadian international policy, to the importance of Canada playing an active and ongoing role in world affairs, with tangible diplomatic, military and aid assets.

CDFAI Projects

Minor Research Papers – four papers are released each year on current, relevant themes related to defence, diplomacy and international development.

Major Research Paper – one or two major papers are released each year providing a detailed, critical examination on current issues or analyzing existing policy.

Quarterly Newsletters – educate Canadians on timely topics related to Canada’s role on the international stage.

Monthly Columns – a monthly column written by J.L. Granatstein that raises the level of public debate on defence and foreign affairs issues.   

Speakers’ Series – corporate and other leaders are invited to expand their knowledge of international relations through the experience and expertise shared by knowledgeable speakers.

Editorial Board – a group of highly respected academics ensure authoritative public policy integrity in all of CDFAI’s formal publications.

Annual Ottawa Conference – a joint project with Carleton, Laval, Queen’s University, UQAM, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars is held annually to address a topical issue.

National Polls – public opinion polls are commissioned to demonstrate Canadian current thinking on significant international issues.

Military Journalism Courses – annually, two eleven-day military/media courses (French and English) are run where upwards of 24 Canadian journalism students learn about dealing with the Canadian Forces.

Ross Munro Media Award – annually, CDFAI and CDA recognize one Canadian journalist who has made a significant contribution to the public understanding of defence and security issues.

Issue Responses – as required, CDFAI will respond to breaking news items with a reasoned, well articulated perspective to assist the public in understanding the issue. 

Each of CDFAI’s projects is developed to bring attention to pressing Canadian international engagement issues. These projects not only analyze the issues but also offer solutions. By publishing the results of these research projects, CDFAI gives policymakers the means to carry out policy formulation and administration in a more informed manner. Interested Canadians will be more knowledgeable. The ultimate aim is to strengthen Canada’s international role in the world, thereby supporting a reasonable standard of living for current and future Canadians and those living around the globe.

CDFAI’s annual budget currently runs at approximately $800,000.  Corporate, individual philanthropic, government contracts and foundation support are needed to carry on this important work.



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