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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

Canada's Military Posture: An Analysis of Recent Civilian Reports

Critical Issues Bulletin by Barry Cooper, Mercedes Stephenson, Ray Szeto

This Critical Issues Bulletin addresses the authors' view that the Canadian Forces have declined in the last decade, and the reasons they cite for its decay. Barry Cooper, Mercedes Stephenson and Ray Szeto believe this has a great deal to do with the political decisions made concerning defence, and not the specific military decisions that have been made. They suggest that decreased funding, a lack of timeliness around replacement of obsolescent equipment, a decline in personnel, and low personnel retention rates are just some of the indicators which suggest the Canadian Forces are dwindling due to poor political strategy.

In their article the authors point out that these developments have all occurred at a time of unprecedented innovation in military technology, when a doctrine known as the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA) is today's norm. This said, the authors note that Canada continues to rely heavily on the dated 1994 White Paper on Defence. Cooper, Stephenson and Szeto outline specifics around the decline that they perceive vis-à-vis the Canadian Forces, in terms of budget, equipment, and personnel training and rotation. The authors place significant emphasis on matters related to personnel, explaining that high levels of rapid deployment have hurt the structure of the Military, transforming it into a "manpower pool" rather than the reliable and well-organized hierarchy, that, in the authors' view, it once was.

Cooper, Stephenson and Szeto conclude with a discussion about the implications around the present-day state of the Canadian Forces and the potential impact on Canada-US relations. In the authors' view, because of the current state of its military, Canada is heavily reliant upon the United States from a defence perspective - a much changed position from that of yester year.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Barry Cooper; Mercedes Stephenson; Ray Szeto;
Publisher: Fraser Institute [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: International;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Military & Defence / Spending
Policy Articles / Military & Defence / Spending / 2004

Keywords / Tags:

1994 White Paper on Defence; revolution in military affairs; Canada; Military; Canada-US relations; manpower pool; Orvik's "defence against help" strategy; personnel problems; obsolete equipment; technology advance; ;