Editor’s Corner

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Welcome to yet another frosty edition of the Canadian Military Journal. While it is still autumn in the Great White North as I pen these words, the Farmers’ Almanac is calling for a nasty one and the horses are growing their winter coats. And they are, respectively, hardly ever, and never wrong…

Taking point in this issue, armoured officer Major Chris Young discusses the Canadian Army’s recently embraced concept of core competencies, which its leadership believes are “…the most important functions or groups of functions that define the basic purpose of the Army of Tomorrow.” After a broad overview of the core competencies concept as it has developed in various business and military environments, Canadian and foreign, Young then explores the various core competency frameworks being adopted within those environments in an attempt to identify best practices associated with core competency development.

Next, tactical aviator Colonel Erick Simoneau “…seeks to bridge the dichotomy between the Canadian Armed Forces’ mandate and its budgets, by offering a manner of intervention that is Canada-specific and designed to protect Canada’s national interests and values.” Simoneau maintains that this would be a nationally-unifying initiative that through focusing upon ‘pan-governmental and niche expeditionary stabilization operations, would “…position Canada as a credible actor within the international community, while taking into account budgetary and geopolitical realities.”

Moving right along, Major James Pierotti, an air combat systems officer with extensive experience in the Search and Rescue (SAR) community believes that SAR “…is but one aspect of a larger capability called Personnel Recovery (PR) that uses aircraft and helicopters, not just in a domestic environment, but also in a deployed and foreign combat environment.” After exposing Canada’s very limited PR policy through comparison with that of Canada’s allies, Pierotti identifies small changes “…that could provide the CAF a smooth integration into the PR organization of any future coalition. It will be argued that Canada requires additional PR policy and training in all branches of the CAF to better integrate with coalition partners for future combat operations.”

Reservist and academic Lieutenant-Colonel James McKay then reflects upon a recent experience as the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) Liaison Officer to U.S. European Command, and seeks to put paid to the notion that liaison officer positions are “…generally perceived as either a reward for a long career, or as an easy task for a senior officer between more important positions in Canada.” After examining the duties of liaison officers to foreign military headquarters at both operational and strategic levels in order to offer some insights on the challenges and benefits associated with those positions, McKay ultimately concludes with “…a discussion of the challenges experienced by the hosting headquarters, and then, a summary of challenges faced and proposed solutions to those challenges.”

Two very different articles in our historical section this time out. In the first, historian and museum consultant Daniel Pellerin focuses upon the little-known Canadian participation in the Second World War’s North African Campaign as part of a troop lending program designed to provide selected Canadians with combat experience. Pellerin believes that this troop lending program was a success, particularly for the infantry members, because “…the experience that infantry officers and NCOs gained serving in front-line units marked an important phase in their training. As intended, they were able to bring this experience to their home units to prepare them for upcoming operations in the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe.”

In the last of our major articles, historian Sean Maloney focuses upon a little-known aspect of the Cold War, namely, the strategic importance to the USSR of the Pacific Northwest. Maloney notes that while the world’s attention was focused upon the Caribbean, the eastern seaboard of North America, central Europe and the Inner German Border, the Pacific Northwest was considered “a strategic backwater with almost no public attention directed towards it. Yet, in the late-1950s and early-1960s, there were significant if low key developments undertaken by the Soviet Union that put this region ‘under the mushroom cloud,’ as it were.” Furthermore, Maloney believes that had nuclear war erupted, there would have been significant ramifications for Canada’s west coast population centres and defence establishments.

This brings us to our two very different Views and Opinions pieces. In the first, heritage consultant and historian Diane Joly examines the commemorative monuments that grace the core of downtown Montreal in Dorchester Square and Place du Canada. Joly suggests that in Montreal at the dawn of the 20th Century, multiple visions of Canada co-existed. For example, “Some citizens, mainly Anglophones, viewed Canada as a colony with a duty to contribute to the prestige of Great Britain. Others, mostly Francophones, saw it as an autonomous power within the British Empire. In the middle were the moderates, who wanted the two groups to get along and live together in harmony.” She then offers that the commemorative monuments in the aforementioned locations are illustrative of those visions, and collectively, that they “…show how the site originally symbolized British power, but gradually came to reflect contemporary Canada and Montreal.”

The second opinion piece by Research Fellow Debalina Ghoshal provides an update as to why Poland recently decided to finalize an agreement to buy a Raytheon-made Patriot air and missile defence system for the nation. She further states that this new missile defence system in Poland will form a component of the European Phased Adaptive Approach, which is planned to become operational in 2018.

Then, our own resident commentator Martin Shadwick takes a look at the current state of the Royal Canadian Navy and planned maritime futures for this fighting force.

Finally, as is our wont, we close with a number of book reviews that hopefully will pique the interest of our readership during these cold winter months.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal