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Military Sociology


Photo by Sylvia Pecota

A Canadian soldier on exercise.

Canadian Society And Its Army

by Professor Donna Winslow

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The ‘Somalia affair’, the Oka crisis, the assistance to civil authorities during the Red River flooding and the ice storms in Eastern Ontario and Québec, and the tragic deaths in Afghanistan — all have undoubtedly made Canadians better aware of their Army. But one might ask whether these dramatic events have actually increased their understanding of the institution? It could be said that British and American exploits in Gulf War II have made Canadians more aware of things military. But while they watched American tanks roar across the desert on CNN, did they know we were about to get rid of the few tanks remaining in service with the Canadian Army? Do Canadians really care what is going on as long as the Army is out there doing good deeds and upholding Canadian values in faraway lands? Has military action become just another spectator sport?

This article explores the relationship between Canadian society and its Army — somewhat of a broad topic1 — and thus generalizations are inevitable. The intention is to get at a fundamental paradox that the Army will face in the future: that while its distinctiveness will likely be more tolerated, few Canadians will opt to be part of this distinct group in Canadian society.

To begin, two important factors affecting the Canadian Army should be considered: peace operations and civilianization. The topic will be examined using the same threeperspective model that the author is currently using to analyze the relationship between the regimental system and Canadian Army ethos. It is a pluralistic approach since it provides a varied assortment of lenses for viewing this complex relationship. It is inspired by the work of Martin, Meyerson and Frost.2 The three levels of analysis (Integration, Differentiation and Fragmentation) flow from macro to micro. The macro Integrated approach leads to the large brushstrokes, major themes affecting the Army that is expected to be an integral part of Canadian society. The Differentiated approach gives us insight into the Army’s reaction to integration and its ‘need to be different.’ Finally the Fragmented approach provides a glimpse of post-modern Canadian society and the implications this can have for the relationship between Canadian society and its Army.

Since the Human Rights Act came into effect in the 1980s there has been a move to generate pan-Canadian consensus, consistency, and conformity to the principles of the Act (an Integration view). Parts of the Army reacted as a subculture holding a different opinion about what is important — what should be asked of the Army given its unique operational imperative (a Differentiation view). At the same time, Canadian society has been in a state of flux, generating multiple value systems (a Fragmentation view) which have led to an ambiguous post-modern society whose core values do not ‘resonate’ with traditional Army values. Thus each perspective in its own way reveals one aspect of the Canadian reality. By combining them, by multiplying the number of levels of analysis, we can more fully understand the relationship between the Canadian Army and the society from which it draws its material and human resources. In particular, we will see the interplay between social homogeneity, conflict and ambiguity.

Peace Operations: Protecting Canadian Values Overseas

After decades of reductions in military expenditures and a seeming widening of the spectrum of missions that it is expected to perform, the Army faces an inevitable question by the public: What is the relevance and purpose of the armed services? There has never been a major, direct, military threat to Canada, and the country seems to have chosen to give priority to non-war fighting roles such as peace operations and military assistance to humanitarian operations. And even though we did send people to a high end operation in Afghanistan, the focus is still on “Operations Other Than War” (OOTW).

A likely scenario for Canada is that she will continue to allow the United States to be primarily concerned with continental defence systems that will allow Canada to put more military resources into maintaining international rather than national security, even though future demands of national security might become more complex.3 After September 11th, it became clear that national security may be more threatened through economic, information, criminal, environmental, or terrorist type of events/activities than through the possibility of traditional types of military threat.4 This said, the fight against international terrorism uses resources that are at the periphery of military institutions—more suited to police forces, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency and other organizations better suited to deal with unconventional networks. It would seem that the major role for the Army will be assisting in the protection or projection of Canadian values overseas.5 For the Army this means participation in OOTW.

Soldier and child

DND Photo ISD01-0024a by Master Corporal Danielle Bernier

A member of 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment serving with the UN peacekeeping mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea says hello to a young boy while on patrol on the Eritrean side of the temporary security zone, January 2001.

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Certainly the peacekeeping6 role appeals to Canadian popular self-images and sentiments of altruism and generosity — doing good to help others who are suffering and so on. The general public sees military action in support of peace operations as nobler and less threatening, less aggressive or less demanding than traditional military tasks.7 In many ways, peacekeeping contributed to the formation of a Canadian identity in the international arena. Peacekeeping represented Canadian multiculturalism, tolerance and respect for the rule of law. As Allen Sens puts it: “Peacekeeping had become a mirror, reflecting the finest qualities Canadians ascribed to their own society and national character.”8 This has an impact on Canadian policy. As Carol Orff points out:

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The image of Canadians as international do-gooders is a part not just of the national mythology, but of Canadian foreign policy. Canada is one of only a handful of nations that include peacekeeping as a permanent part of their national defence, and no other country gives peacekeeping such a defining role in its international politics. It is in our genetic code as a nation.9

Peacekeeping also meshes well with Canadian foreign policy conceptions of Canada as a ‘middle power’. Contributions to peace operations are expressions of Canada’s commitment to the United Nations (UN). The desire to be both represented and consulted on international affairs is an important driving force behind Canadian foreign policy, and peacekeeping has helped maintain Canada’s profile and influence as an independent sovereign actor in the world. Participation in peace operations also gave Canada some leverage in international forums. According to Henry Wiseman, peacekeeping “enhanced Canada’s reputation as a middle power [and contributed] to Canada’s stature and influence in the UN.”10 Through the contribution of Army battle groups to various peacekeeping ventures, Canada hoped to gain a seat at the table and some input into decision-making forums.11

However, as important as participation might be, the question remains as to whether we have the resources and capabilities to honour all our commitments. Canadians have not seen the military as an important national institution, and traditionally have not supported defence spending. As Martin Shadwick has stated, “Many Canadians seem to aspire to a global security and human security role for their country and their armed forces, but are prone to terminal writer’s cramp when it comes to signing the cheques for a credible defence establishment.”12 He has indicated that, despite overwhelming endorsements that a strong military is important to Canada’s international standing (88 percent), peacekeeping requires combat-ready forces (94 percent) and Canada needs a modern, combat-capable military (95 percent). When it came to a zero-sum choice, defence spending rated last of all options, with Canadians choosing to allocate an additional tax dollar to propping up the Canadian film industry rather than improving the state of defence.

Canada’s emphasis on ‘soft power’ coincided with considerable reductions in the defence budget13 and resulting loss of ‘hard power’ capabilities. By the early 1990s, the 4th Brigade was gone, and we pulled out of Germany.

The new world order of the 1990s all but terminated the traditional role of the modern military. As the prospect of another Great War vanished, there was a proliferation of nasty little wars fought without rules and with an ugly predilection for killing civilians. Peacekeepers were dispatched around the world to somehow quell these uprisings and impose order on rogue states. In the 1990s Canada sent as many soldiers off into the world wearing blue berets as were stationed in Lahr when the Berlin Wall came down.14

The new buzzword was “human security”, a concept championed by former Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy:

The concept of human security recognizes that human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, good governance, sustainable development and social equality are as important to global peace as are arms control and disarmament. It follows from this that, to restore and sustain peace in countries affected by conflict, human security must be guaranteed just as military security must. This is where peace building comes in: as a package of measures to strengthen and solidify peace by building a sustainable infrastructure of human security. Peace building aims to put in place the minimal conditions under which a country can take charge of its destiny, and social, political, and economic development become possible.15

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And even though Axworthy has come and gone, the notion of human security16 remains at the forefront of Canadian foreign policy. For the current government, human security means freedom from pervasive threats to people’s rights, safety or lives, and the Department of Foreign Affairs has identified five foreign policy priorities for advancing human security:

  1. Protection of civilians, concerned with building international will and strengthening norms and capacity to reduce the human costs of armed conflict.

  2. Peace support operations, concerned with building UN capacities and addressing the demanding and increasingly complex requirements for deployment of skilled personnel, including Canadians, to these missions.

  3. Conflict prevention, concerned with strengthening the capacity of the international community to prevent or resolve conflict, and building local indigenous capacity to manage conflict without violence.

  4. Governance and accountability, concerned with fostering improved accountability of public and private sector institutions in terms of established norms of democracy and human rights.

  5. Public safety, concerned with building international expertise, capacities and instruments to counter the growing threats posed by the rise of trans-national organized crime.17

All this entails many elements from peace operations to the delivery of humanitarian assistance, foreign aid, election monitoring, democracy building, post conflict reconstruction of infrastructure and social institutions, and preventative diplomacy. It also means a shift away from peace operations with a predominantly military focus to a form of new coalition with NGOs, civilian peacekeepers, human rights monitors and the like. This makes the task of determining what role the Army should play in the future all the more difficult.

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Canada has not been clear as to whether it wants its forces to remain interoperable warriors — which implies heavy investments in hardware in order to conduct joint operations with the Americans and her NATO allies — or occupy a niche role as peacekeepers. This carries the risk that the soldier’s traditional combat role will change to one of ‘global street worker’.18 This ambiguity is reflected in official documents. “Combat capable, multi-purpose forces”, as described in the 1994 Defence White Paper, are still being presented as a realistic future. In Shaping the Future of Canadian Defence: A Strategy for 2020, future forces are described as “high quality, com-bat-capable, interoperable and rapidly deployable task-tailored.”19 Yet, Defence Performance and Outlook 2000 tells us that the military is also supposed to advance Canada’s human security agenda. This includes, “the ability to fight to protect the fundamental human rights and values that Canadians and the international community espouse ... [and] ... keep the peace once it is achieved”.20

The 1994 Defence White Paper also stressed the importance of contributing to international security efforts and responding to humanitarian disasters. Thus, the Army is constantly solicited to provide people for overseas peace support operations. Moreover, recent equipment acquisitions such as the LAV III21, and the severe reduction in the number of tanks, seems to imply less emphasis on high-intensity combat operations, even though the Army continues to train for these missions (e.g. the recent 2nd Brigade exercise “Resolute Warrior” in April 2003) and holds to its intention of turning Camp Wainwright into a manoeuvre training centre by 2006. It is important to remember that budgets simply cannot keep up with the spiralling investment costs of big-ticket items that become more expensive with each new generation of weapon.

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Civilianization — A Losing Battle?

The Institutional/Occupational distinction has become one of the most widely referred to models in military sociology. This model is based upon the work of Morris Janowitz,22 who argued that changing technology created new patterns of combat and therefore modified organizational behaviour in the military. In short, the more complex the technology of warfare, the narrower the differences between military and non-military establishments.23 Thus, over time and through increased technology there will be more convergence between the Army and society. Janowitz was also concerned that officers were acquiring skills and orientations common to civilian administrators and even political leaders.24 The increasing ‘civilianization’ of the Army is seen as creating tension and paradox as traditional institutional values (often associated with combat roles) come into conflict with new individualist and occupational values (often associated with management positions).25

In Canada, civilianization of the military can be traced to the Canadian Forces Reorganization Act of 1 February 1968, commonly known as “unification”. At that time, the three armed services were organized into one service — the Canadian Forces (CF). This met with some resistance at the time, and many senior officers resigned.26 The goal of the Act was to rationalize and streamline the administration of the forces. According to Sandy Cotton: “The unification of the three forces represented the application ‘in extremis’ of the principle of managerial rationality to the social organization of defence.”27 In 1972, the Trudeau government established a new National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in order to create an organization which would unite civilian and military personnel in a structure to advise on and administer defence policy and manage the CF. Although meant to make things run more smoothly, unification and the establishment of NDHQ are perceived as contributing factors to the increased bureaucratization of the military. By 1980, Major-General Jack Vance noted that the CF was facing a crisis of military ethos because “civilian standards and values are displacing their proven military counterparts and in the process are eroding the basic fibre of the Canadian Military Society.”28


DND Photo APD02-5000-141 by Corporal Lou Penney

Heavily laden troops belonging to 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry marching to helicopters waiting to transport them into the mountains in eastern Afghanistan where they will conduct operations against al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, March 2002.

At the same time the military was becoming bureaucratized, the concept of “organizational culture” was becoming popular. The idea of organizational culture allowed for even more civilian ideas to be imported into the military. Experts felt that the military could be treated as any other organization in terms of predicting and analyzing effectiveness, and in application of techniques from the business sector. It was further contended that there was a penetration of values associated with civilian business enterprise such as cost-effectiveness, personnel management, centralized promotion, computer purchasing, salary control and so on. Cost effectiveness began to be as important as operational readiness. ‘Business speak’ began to enter the military, and the Department of National Defence began to refer to itself as a “team.” This has been followed by other business trends such as the decentralization of budgets and accounting, e-mail communications and such. All of these are factors that force Army officers to spend much of their time in the office in front of the computer, making them little different from civilian office workers.

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It is rather interesting to note the striking parallels between the drivers of change facing the Army and those encountered by private sector organizations.29 We can see that the end of an immediate direct threat to national territorial sovereignty and instability in the current peace and security environment is paralleled by the lack of a stable market for business. Second, the Army is at one its lowest levels since the Second World War. The trend of company downsizing since the 1980s parallels this process. Third, the Army has to address a range of missions involving operations other than major war, namely, intervention abroad in multinational contributions to international peace and stability. This focus on the projection of force to dispersed points on the globe from a home base parallels the ways in which companies have to respond to increasingly global markets. Fourth, the Army has to think through the possibilities offered by the application of business models to the military, such as contracting out of functions, restructuring of hierarchies and so on — processes that echo civilian developments in the empowerment and restructuring of companies. Fifth, both military and civilian organizations have to respond to the social and cultural challenges of a changing society. This society is more individualistic (in which, for example, people wish to be actively involved in how their working lives are structured and expect employers to respect their private and family commitments), egalitarian and litigious. Sixth, both sets of organizations are seeking to make best use of the new information technologies in enabling them to achieve a competitive edge over their rivals. This is evident in all aspects of organizations, from the personnel functions (such as the administration of pay, personnel records and so on) to operational areas — not least in the offensive and defensive aspects of ‘information warfare’. 30

But the most important implications of the information revolution, as Verdon, Okros and Wait point out, is less about technology than it is about a revolution in organizational structure and culture. High tech weaponry generates new layers of complexity for logistics, doctrine, command and control. Thus, the drivers of change in organizational structure for the Army are both strategic and societal.

Winter exercise

Photo by Sylvia Pecota

Winter exercise, Camp Wainwright.

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Both revolutions [in Business Affairs, RBA, and in Military Affairs, RMA] are being driven by similar technological advances and correspondingly changing operations environment. The RBA is not only changing the commercial domain and practices but is a dramatic force driving accelerating social, cultural and political change around the world (and therefore influencing the motivations and opportunities for conflict). The RMA will largely influence the exploitation of opportunities and the complexity of conflict, essentially the ‘how’ of warfare. The combination of changes in the why and how conflict is engaged culminate in the transformation of war, conflict and security.31

The Army will also have to establish how far commercial practices, such as privatization, contracting out and the formation of agencies in the logistic and support sectors, will be used in an institutional organization without compromising operational effectiveness. The Army must review its core activities, identifying which of them might be contracted out in order to cut costs but not at the sacrifice of quality. In addition to outsourcing,32 civilianizing might also become a significant trend of the future. Civilianization involves the substitution of civilian for military personnel. For example, civilian personnel are now assuring many services in overseas operations.33

In Afghanistan, which is arguably the Canadian Army’s biggest operation since Korea, civilian contractors play a very important role. Under the CANCAP (Canadian contractor assistance programme), the civilian firm SNC Lavalin — PAE34 provides all catering and laundry services. It built the entire camp, and is responsible for providing accommodation, shower facilities, electricity and construction needs in the camp. It processes wastewater and provides fresh water for the troops, in addition to running the computer help desk. This entails the presence of a large number of civilian workers in the camp — 250 people in all, of whom there are Nepalese cooks, kitchen staff,35 cleaners and laundry personnel, New Zealand managers, South African engineers and so on. In addition, there are the workers (mostly female) who run the camp CANEX store. There has been grumbling about the unusually high number of civilians in the camp. It was suggested that they would be a burden if an attack occurred, that they were there just for the money, that they crowded the messes and pushed the soldiers out, that the soldiers had to assure security details which — if there had been military personnel instead of civilians — could have been shared by all. However, on the whole the camp seems to be running very smoothly and that the civilians and military personnel get along quite well. The camp was built in a surprisingly short time — three months, the food is excellent, and accommodations truly luxurious in comparison to other national camps in Afghanistan.

In addition to applying best business practices to the armed services, the Army has to adjust to a socio-cultural context, which is less convergent with the core assumptions of traditional military culture. A higher value is placed upon individualism and social equality. Canadian citizens are attuned to the ‘blame and compensation’ culture; they are more disposed to enforce their rights in civilian courts, or take their case to the Ombudsman instead of dealing with it within the regiment or chain of command.

There are also changes occurring concerning the families of military members. In recent years, the basis of the separate military community has been eroded significantly, although the effects on operational effectiveness remain unclear.36 It is likely that in the future much of the military community will be dispersed into civilian society. Service accommodation will tend to be focused on the younger service families. Jessup shows how the welfare of military families will increasingly be shared between the armed services and the civilian community.37 This of course depends on the location of the service. For example, Army members working in Ottawa live in the community just like any other civil servant, whereas in more remote areas such as Wainwright or Shilo military families are more isolated and dependent on each other for social support.

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Within the Canadian family itself, there is an increasing instance of both parents working, with employers facing increased demands for career breaks and more flexible working practices, demands that are also having to take into account the growing number of sin-gle-parent families. For the Army, this means providing more flexible working conditions and recognizing that women are no longer prepared to place their own career second to that of their military partners. For example, the proposed move of 2 PPCLI from Winnipeg to Shilo has provoked strong reactions from spouses who do not want to leave the large city. This can have an effect on retention.

Another problem has to do with prolonged separation from a soldier’s spouse and family, brought about by unaccompanied postings or when a member is constantly away on missions. Army personnel on a recent month-long brigade training exercise in Wainwright had only a short time with their families before getting ready to go to Bosnia or Afghanistan. Telephone services are available in Afghanistan, and there is access to the Internet, so this eases the burden of separation. In addition, efforts were made to record video messages on Remembrance Day, to be sent back to Canada. However, it still takes a special kind of spouse to put up with the demands that military life makes on the family, and to deal with the emotional bonding which happens between people on a mission. This seems at times to be closer than the emotional bonds between a married couple. Women are of course pursuing careers in the military, and career paths will have to take into account the female life cycle, allowing breaks for pregnancy while still ensuring career development after a return to work. In addition, the problem of dual service couples has an effect on retention when Army couples find themselves apart too often because of separate postings or missions. The stability of civilian life may offer an attractive alternative for many.

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Integrationist Perspective: Closing The Gap

From an Integrationist perspective, armies have to ensure that they are responsive to the changing society that they defend, that pays for them, and without whose support they can do little.38 Thus, the Army is expected to support the broad coherent patterns across Canadian society, and emphasis is placed on a stable set of ideas, values and norms characterizing Canadian society as a whole.

From an Integration perspective, there is — or at least there should be — consistency between the various components of society and a general widespread agreement and understanding of Canadian culture (which often means core values). In this sense, we can see a great deal of congruency is expected between the Army and Canadian society. Like other Western military forces, the Canadian Army has been forced to adopt certain values and beliefs that reflect those of the wider society39 — such as the integration of women and ethnic minorities, and acceptance of homosexuality.

The Army As Representative Of Canadian Society

A challenge to Army culture concerns the issue of social representation and diversity. While the wider employment of women is still an ongoing process,40 focus on equal opportunities and the armed services has shifted to the dimension of race and ethnicity.

Canada is rapidly becoming a diversified country due to increased immigration from non-European countries. And, according to CF policy, it is important that the CF be integral to the society it serves, not isolated from it. Therefore, the composition of the military must reflect the population it serves. For example, the Army’s statement on leadership in a diverse army tells us: “An effective Army that represents more of Canada will inspire the confidence of all Canadians.”41 Promoting diversity also means an expanded recruitment base and a “skill enhanced organization more connected to all segments of Canadian society”.42 In any case, the legal pressure to conform to this ideal is real enough43 — in December 2002, the Army became officially subject to the Employment Equity Act and has undertaken a series of initiatives to promote diversity.44

The key question arising here is whether the goal of ‘closing the gap’ between the Army and Canadian society is achievable. The idea of representativeness can be given at least two interpretations. First, one can refer to a socio-demographic match between military and society. In such a context, this would involve the military matching the statistical profile in the wider population — a goal achieved through planned targets if not quotas. As Sir Michael Howard has pointed out, this is very much an American value.45 Second, one might argue that the Army should subscribe to core societal values such as equality of opportunity, decency, fairness, and careers open to all.

Gen. Ray Henault and soldier

DND Photo KA2003-A469D by Master Corporal Brian Walsh

General Ray Henault, Chief of the Defence Staff (right), on a dismounted patrol with a member of the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, during a Christmas visit to Canadian troops serving in Afghanistan, 25 December 2003.

Other commentators have identified a number of reasons why meeting equal opportunity objectives are desirable from the point of view of operational effectiveness.46 First of all, it can improve access to a wider recruitment pool, as the armed services compete with civilian companies for scarce labour both in terms of quantity and quality. In Canada, although currently there are twice as many people under 15 as there are over 65, by 2030 the elderly (over 65) will outnumber the under-15 population. This trend is combined with declining fertility rates, which means that immigration is the only way to maintain or increase the population.47 Immigrants may come to outnumber those born in Canada, and in the future might constitute the major source of recruits — a very different picture from the predominantly European-origin, white force of today.

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There are numerous arguments supporting the full integration of ethnic minorities in the armed forces. First of all, there is a predisposition of some ethnic minority populations to pursue education as a means of improving their labour market positions, thus providing the Army with a useful additional pool of skilled labour. The Army would benefit from a diversity of skills and backgrounds that a broader-based entry would produce. With the need for more intelligent and flexible service personnel likely to increase rather than decrease, such diversity might well prove an advantage in future years. The Army would also benefit from being seen to live up to the ideal of an equal opportunities employer. While this may enhance their standing in ethnic minority communities, it is just as important to sustain its legitimacy and thus the fount of good will amongst the general public.

While the Army has much to gain from recruiting a greater proportion of the ethnic minority communities than is currently the case, those communities themselves would also derive some benefit. Lieutenant Colonel Crawford has argued (drawing on the work of Cynthia Enloe48) that, if American experience is anything to go by, military service can provide ethnic minority communities with a sense that they are valuable elements of the social and political system. That is to say, people from these backgrounds are and feel included, not excluded: they develop skills that enhance their socio-economic mobility, as well as acquiring a range of leadership skills that can be transferred back to local communities. This would suggest that all three results could be seen as facets of a process of citizenship building.

Thus, the argument goes that supportive links between the Army and society must be cultivated. Doing so need not weaken, but can actually strengthen the Army. In a healthy democracy, it is vital that the armed forces do not remain too far apart from the society they are charged to defend. After all, it is society that funds them and bestows on them their legitimacy; and it is society from which they recruit their personnel and to which they return them to continue their working lives as civilians.

On the other hand, the Army could feel relatively comfortable about the task of explaining the mismatch between their profile and that of society. The gap would need to be explained, not by a failure to have an effective equality of opportunity program, but in terms of the propensity of particular groups to select certain kinds of occupations, either military or civilian.49 Some immigrant groups in Canada come from war-torn areas, making them strongly disinclined to have anything to do with the military. In addition, these families encourage their children to pursue education and lucrative careers in the civilian world. Another factor is the distance of many military bases from urban centres where immigrant groups have strong support networks. Given the differential propensity rate amongst groups in society, it is most unlikely that the services will be able to achieve the goal of representation in the first sense of that concept. Reaching such a goal would require programs of affirmative action that are illegal in Canada. One possible result might be that service in the Army will become a niche employment for Canadians of British and French ancestry who follow in their fathers’ footsteps.50

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Differentiation Perspective: The Need To Be Different

The Differentiation perspective assumes that organizational subcultures exist and are related to specific variables, such as department or function. Groups are embedded in different contexts or patterns of interaction which lead to collective understandings that differ by group.51 Thus members of the group share a sub culture — a particular set of meanings, understandings, values and prescriptions for action.

Different subcultures set up social boundaries compared to other groups with which they may be in conflict or in accommodation. From a Differentiation perspective, consensus exists, but only within the boundaries of a subculture such as the Army which might find itself in opposition to the other environments (sea or air), DND, Cabinet or the larger society. Ambiguity is channelled so that it does not intrude on the clarity that exists within sub cultural (Army) boundaries. If ambiguity and conflict are discussed, then it is in the interface between the Army and other components of Canadian society. It becomes a question of ‘us’ versus ‘them’.

Uneasy Relationships

Those who adopt a Differentiation perspective see the Army as a society within a society, and one that should maintain some level of distinctiveness. From this point of view, we can understand the Army’s argument concerning the need to be different.52 For example, conservatives in the US tend to be suspicious of tempering military culture in order to accommodate changes in wider society. These people believe that the military would lose its ‘institutional soul’, rooted in war fighting.53 Army culture is seen as a ‘thing’ which sets the Army apart and makes it unique.

Moreover, Army culture seems to be under attack, threatened with extinction — thus it becomes something to be preserved, reinforced, saved from erosion and so on. This causes some to ask why the armed services should be devoting so much attention to the issue of Equal Opportunities, whether in the context of ethnic minorities or the dimension of gender. This leads to a perception of a ‘zero-sum’ conflict between functional and societal imperatives. That is to say, meeting (so called ‘politically correct’) equal opportunities objectives detracts from operational effectiveness. Such action diverts investment from more worthy objectives, such as platforms or other equipment. Also, equal opportunities could be seen as undermining the traditional cohesion of an Army community that is based on homogeneity. Some believe that meeting ‘politically correct’ standards is just another area where the Army, rather than being utilized to defend the country, is being used as a ‘social experiment.’54

In addition, the effects of downsizing, over-tasking and under-manning have given troops the feeling that government does not care to provide the resources necessary to do the job. This leads to a certain frustration with government, and a sense of betrayal reinforcing the attitude of ‘us’ versus ‘them’. For many, government seems to be prepared to make decisions contrary to the advice of military leaders, and this indicates to soldiers a lack of confidence in the high command and its advice.

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This coincides with the belief that senior military leaders have also abandoned the troops. This sentiment would appear to have emerged after the Somalia Inquiry. For example in 1998, at a conference on The Soldier and the Canadian State, the syndicates identified a major problem area: “The enlisted and junior officers lacked confidence in the integrity and leadership of the senior military officers.... Senior ranks appeared to be more committed to pleasing their political masters and to promoting their own careers than to looking after the interests of the forces under their command.”55 This sentiment seems to be slowly changing as trust is being re-established in senior leadership, but it will take time.

This sense of betrayal by political leaders is combined with a belief that Canadians are not very knowledgeable about their military — particularly in the urban areas. The decline in the ‘knowledgeability’ about military affairs in the civilian community — both opinion-formers and the general public — has been borne out in recent research. Direct experience and appreciation of military affairs has declined markedly over the past 20 years, both in the political élite as well as in broader sections of the population. Most peo-ple’s experience of the military is gained second-hand from the media. This is a result of the long-term decline in the size of the military establishment, which leads to a corresponding diminution in the number of military and ex-military personnel in society. In addition, Base closures mean that the ‘footprint’ made by the military on society has diminished. Shilo, Wainwright and Petawawa are not exactly close to the urban areas where the majority of the Canadian population lives. Lower numbers, less visibility and a high number of overseas deployments mean less interaction with Canadian civilians.

The number of those — especially opinion makers — who can speak knowledgeably about the Army has declined in recent decades. In Canada, there is little direct Member of Parliament (MP) experience with the military.56 According to a survey conducted by Dr. Douglas Bland of the Centre for Defence Management Studies at Queen’s University, the Canadian MPs responsible for approving $9.5 billion in annual military spending often know little about Canada’s defence needs or objectives. Dr. Bland commented about the results of his study: “Defence is the only government policy where the government is prepared to deliberately spend the lives of people to accomplish policy ends. You would think if they’re going to send people out to get killed, they should think about it.”57 Soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers have expressed a shared feeling of being misunderstood by government and society.

This lack of civilian knowledge of the military is mirrored by a corresponding aversion to politics amongst many military officers. Politics is seen as a civilian domain and something that officers should not be involved with. This attitude is reinforced by a certain preference for technical or war fighting competence. For example, a fourth year engineering student at the Royal Military College, daughter of serving officer, explained to Dr. David Last that she had never voted and never intended to — she didn’t understand this ‘politics thing’ and didn’t think it was relevant.58 The end result could be a shortage of senior officers who understand the workings of the government that they must deal with. Again, Last tells us that an Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of National Defence was asked what one thing he would change about officer education, and he replied that officers should have a civics course in order to understand how the Canadian government works.59

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This theme has been picked up in many studies. For example, McCormick60 refers to it as the ‘corporate’ versus the ‘muddy boots’ army in the US. The US Army is seen as divided into subgroups: “In one army, scrupulously groomed generals in pressed uniforms and spit-shined shoes ready themselves for battles over budgets and end strengths on Capitol Hill. In the other, captains in wrinkled fatigues and dusty combat boots prepare their overworked units for uncertain missions in unknown places.”61 The theme also appears in Canada, where ‘streamers’ are seen as making all the right career moves to advance their personal reputation and career. Similarly, generals and other workers at DND are seen as being divorced from the reality and needs of the rank and file. Many do not trust DND, and hope that the new generation of officers with combat experience from OOTW will implement the necessary changes that the ‘Cold War Warriors’ of the past were unable to make, and thus restore confidence and bring the Army equipped and manned into the 21st century of warfare.62

Helicopter repair

Canadian Forces Combat Camera photo IS2003-1254a
by Master Corporal Paul MacGregor

Repairing a Griffon helicopter belonging to 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron during the Army’s first major field exercise of the century, Camp Wainwright, April 2003.

Fragmentation Perspective: A Post-modern Army?

In a Fragmented approach, culture is a loosely-structured and incompletely-shared system that emerges dynamically as Canadians experience each other and events in Canada and around the world. This is certainly borne out in the work of Adams on the changing nature of Canadian values. Compared to two generations ago, a multiplicity of views exists in Canadian society. At the same time, war fighting still determines the central beliefs, values and complex symbolic formations that define Army culture.63 This ethos does not resonate well in post-modern Canadian society.

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Post-modern Canada

If we accept Adams’ survey research64, we can see that Canadian society has been going through profound changes since the mid-1950s. The major difference, according to Adams, is that “relative affluence, access to education, travel and information has resulted in growing numbers of Canadians being able to transcend the traditional demographic categories of age, gender, religion, social class and ethnicity, and to then define themselves in novel ways.”65 There has been a significant shift from outward directedness, tradition, communalism and morality to inward directedness, individualism and hedonism. Young Canadians are rejecting authority and looking for more personal autonomy, pleasure and spiritual fulfillment. The deference and loyalty of Canadians can no longer be taken for granted.66 This means that organized religion, institutions such as the Army and even the nation-state are less relevant.

Adams’ research has Canadians now divided into twelve “tribes” based on shared values. He categorizes them into three age groups: Elders over 50, Boomers 30 to 49 and Generation-Xers under 30. Each of these groups is in turn sub-divided into a number of groups. In general, we can see that the Elders believe in authority, discipline, the Judeo-Christian moral code and the golden rule. They believe in a world of clearly defined roles. Boomers reject traditional gender and life cycle stereotypes. They believe in individual choice and the possibility of creating one’s own future. More than any other generation in Canadian history, the Gen-Xers have abandoned fear, guilt and duty as motivating factors. Adams’ research shows that “younger Canadians remain on the leading edge in the movement away from traditional values.”67 The gulf separating the young from the old is greater than any linguistic or regional separation in Canada. Of particular significance is the plurality of identities expressed by young people today. It is no longer possible to have a fairly well-defined stereotype of what constitutes a Canadian these days. We have become truly a postmodern nation characterized by changing roles, self conceptions and bases of legitimacy, the erosion of long-standing organizational formats, unpredictability and multiculturalism.

Soldier silhouetted

Canadian Forces Combat Camera photo
by Sergeant Frank Hudec

A Royal Canadian Regiment soldier silhouetted on top of a LAV III armoured personnel carrier at the International Security Assistance Force camp in Kabul, Afghanistan, 27 July 2003.

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Army Ethos And Post-modern Canada

The Canadian Army ethos lists four key items — duty, honour, integrity and discipline. The following is the Canadian Army’s expression of military ethos:

Within the Canadian army, the military ethos is further amplified and applied in a manner which recognizes the army’s unique function and role which, in its barest essence, requires soldiers to close with and defeat an enemy in face-to-face combat. Hence, the military ethos is in part a warrior’s code; overall, it is an all-encompassing military philosophy and moral culture derived from the imperatives of military professionalism, the requirements of the battlefield and the demands war makes on the human character. The army’s expression of the military ethos is anchored on four precepts which are incumbent on every soldier at every rank level. These are:

  • Duty. Duty is manifested in responsibility and devotion to Canada; loyalty to superiors, peers and subordinates alike; courage, resolve and competence in the execution of tasks; pursuit of professional knowledge and self-development; use of initiative; application of judgment, intellect and decisiveness; and subordination of self to mission at all times. Duty for leaders additionally entails being aware of and tending to the needs of subordinates.

  • Integrity. Integrity is ensuring that one’s personal standards are consistent with professional values, and being committed to act in accordance with these values. Hence, it consists of ethical, principled behaviour; transparency in actions; speaking and acting with honesty and candour; the pursuit of truth regardless of consequences; a passionate dedication to fairness and justice; possessing moral courage; and most importantly, always doing what is right.

  • Discipline. Discipline is first and foremost self-discipline. It is a state of mind that instils self-control and, in battle, helps fortify individuals against the corroding influence of fear. It encompasses immediate obedience to lawful orders and directives; a high standard of personal conduct and deportment; and the display of fortitude, endurance and resiliency in the face of adversity. Discipline is essential to success in operations and is therefore demanded of both the individual soldier and the group under all conditions and circumstances. Because it is the sinew of cohesion and the foundation of professional excellence, a high standard of discipline is the most important quality that soldiers must possess.

  • Honour. Honour lies in being loyal to unit and faithful to comrades; granting quarter to an opponent and respecting fully the law of armed conflict, including treating surrendered enemy and non-combatants humanely and protecting them from harm; adhering to professional values and upholding the traditions of the service; and displaying gallantry, courtesy, dignity, and chivalry in one’s everyday actions and conduct.68

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One would certainly think that these items reflect Canadian values, but according to Adams69 they only reflect the values of the older generations in Canada. In the age category of 50+, we see respect for historical tradition, authority, and institutions, duty and deferred gratification as key values for 80 percent of this population. All these coincide well with Army ethos. In the baby boomer generation of ages 30 to 49, respect for traditional institutions, family and community and the idea of duty appeal to only 34 percent of this population. For the Gen-Xers (Canadians under 30), none of these values hold appeal. Instant gratification, desire for independence, and hedonism all seem to take priority. Indeed this does pose some problems.

For the military, the core values of Army culture are subordination of the self to the group and the idea of sacrifice: the individual must be willing to subordinate him or herself to the common good — the team and common task. Furthermore, there must be a willingness to sacrifice one’s life for the team in peace and war — without this, an armed force will risk defeat. However, in a more individualistic Canadian society, a lower priority is given to values of the community and the subordination of the self to that of the team. We can say that Canada is not a militaristic society, nor is it likely to become one in the future. Patriotism, as it might be expressed in “proud service to one’s country”, is not widespread.

Canadian social, cultural and legal changes provide a less-than-robust supporting framework for the core values of Army culture. Indeed, a new generation of prospective recruits has difficulty accepting some of the traditional demands of an Army way of life. Deference to authority figures has waned: authority has to be earned and not taken for granted in Canada. This trend poses questions for the Army with its highly-structured authority relations. Although the Canadian Army is not likely to follow the European trend of union-like associations for military personnel, it is believed that service personnel ought to have the right to be able to air and represent their grievances outside the formal chain of command. For example, the Ombudsman’s office stands outside the military chain of command. This indicates a loosening chain of command in order to incorporate a more rights-based system of command and consultation more akin to non-mil-itary organizations.

Furthermore, significant sections of the youth population are less physically fit than ever before. One of the effects of this is that in order to maintain standards, the costs of training are likely to rise because of the need to bring poorer quality recruits up to the standard required. It will also be a challenge to maintain the traditional expectation that military personnel should conform to a code of moral conduct that is more demanding than that expected in civilian life with respect to issues of honesty, integrity, sexual behaviour, soft drug use and so on.

Focusing on the needs of the individual will be of critical importance in both recruitment and retention in the future. The same can be said for the recognition that the Army needs to take “individual aspirations for family stability into account as far as practicable” when managing postings, although operational requirements must be paramount.70 Important steps have already been taken to improve the quality of life and salaries of CF members, but only after years of neglect.

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Impact On Change And Army Culture

The heterogeneous nature of the Canadian population and the Army itself71 also has an impact on Army culture and current attempts to modify it. Thus, as Canadians come into contact with the Army, they come into contact with dress norms, the organization’s formal rules and procedures, its informal codes of behaviour, rituals, tasks, pay systems, jargon and jokes only understood by insiders, and so on. When recruits interpret the meanings of these manifestations, their perceptions, memories, beliefs, experiences, and values will vary, and, as a result, their interpretations will differ — even of the same phenomenon.72

In the Integration perspective and in the Differentiation perspective, change is something that can be introduced from the top down. Organizations or their sub-cultures are assumed to be integrated wholes, little societies, normally stable and consensual. Culture change will be instituted to establish, maintain or return to a stable state. Leaders at the top of an organization can set the tone and implement a change process. If the Integration approach is adopted, once the mechanisms and policies are in place leaders assume that it will occur more or less systematically throughout the organization. If the Differentiation approach is adopted, interim conflict or ambiguity concerning the change is assumed, and problem groups need to be identified and eliminated. Problems will disappear once most organizational members understand and are ‘on board’.

In pulling these levers, the role of management is clear. Leaders choose the basic change and/or are responsible for implementing it. They pull the levers. They engineer the change. The organization is seen as some sort of mechanistic system in which management identifies some destination (vision or end state) and then drives the organization in the right direction, while watching at checkpoints along the way.73 This approach assumes that change is a linear process, and that the changed vision or new end state is fixed and can be collectively shared.

The Fragmentation perspective tells us that if change is attempted, it is difficult to predict what the result will be. In fact leaders may not be able to send clear signals at all, since whatever they do will be interpreted and reinterpreted in unexpected and unintended ways. Their roles are less central and less effective than that portrayed in the Integration and Differentiation perspectives, since their influence depends on others’ interpretations and the effect of those interpretations on behaviour. Organizational members are not seen as passive recipients of culture change — they are imaginative consumers of leaders’ visions. One of the implications of the Fragmentation perspective for leaders is that their strategies for change are problematized.74

There are, however, a few indications of how to approach change using a Fragmented approach, and it involves dialogue. Leaders can therefore set the parameters of the dialogue, even though they cannot control the outcome.75 Leaders’ messages can frame organizational responses. In this way, a new state of affairs is created through accommodation, negotiation and bargaining. Change will be something that is continually negotiated. Since those holding power will have more influence, some of their meanings will prevail over others with varying degrees of success.76 If we were to summarize the Fragmentation approach to culture change in an organization, then we would have to use the word ‘emergence’, which implies that change will emerge from the dialogue which occurs between organizational members. This would coincide nicely with young Canadians’ desire to be more actively involved in the decisions affecting their conditions of work.

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Troops in darkness

Photo by Sylvia Pecota

Last Light.

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It is inevitable that societal culture will infiltrate and determine many of the meanings upon which organizational groups such as the Army can draw. We have seen that Canadian society itself is pluralistic and dynamic, supporting a broad array of different views and values to which organizations such as the Army may subscribe. Thus, Armies can draw on their societal environment in the same way that they draw material resources. Traditional warrior values may or may not resonate in the larger ambient Canadian culture(s). If resonance is not possible then I believe that it becomes increasingly difficult to justify certain purchases, training procedures and the like.

On the other hand, a post-modern Canadian society might actually be more tolerant of the Army’s ‘need to be different’. As the French military sociologist and commandant of Saint-Cyr, Bernard Boëne,77 has pointed out, functional military values that diverge from the mainstream may no longer pose a problem to a post-modern society. In a post-modern Canada, where each and every group is left to pursue its inclinations and cultivate its lifestyle free of constraint from a cultural mainstream, the Army might just be accepted as another “tribe among tribes.” Boëne tells us that the only condition will be that “they be sparing of human life in the application of force and tolerant of diversity.”78 Of course, that still leaves the question as to whether anyone will want to be a member of the Army tribe.

Some of the problems between Canadian society and the Army would seem to be a result of the contradictions caused by the three perspectives being adopted at the same time, or different perspectives being adopted by the various partners in the relationship. For example the government might be discussing things from an Integrationist perspective, while the Army is using a Differentiation perspective. This emphasizes the need for common ground and an understanding of where the other party is coming from. Differences need to be accepted and understood. Good communication between levels is essential, and this is only possible when there is trust. The Somalia crisis did a great deal to erode trust between levels of leadership and between the Army and Canadian society. Trust needs to be earned anew and rebuilt, and we are well on the way, but it will take time. But it should be emphasized that trust and communication are essential so that the different layers of Canadian society and government and the Army can understand each other and work together.

I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to discover the Canadian Army through my research. I have come a long way from that moment eight years ago when I wondered why they were wearing different colours of berets. I am glad to know that those men and women are out there making my world a safer place.

I wish other Canadians could share in this experience, and I would encourage the Army to make more efforts in ‘marketing’ itself. This may be a dirty word to some, but I believe it is essential. General Mike Jeffrey (former Commander of the Canadian Army) asked the Army to reach out to Canadians, and I can only echo this request. In this case, ignorance is not bliss, and it will not help. Do Canadian soldiers need to die in order to get attention? Canadians need to understand their Army better, how it operates and what its needs are. Otherwise it will remain something useful but peripheral — an occasional news story, a blip on the political screen, a tribe to be tolerated. The use of ‘embedded’ journalists in the current operation in Afghanistan has done a lot to sensitize Canadians to the challenges of the mission. This is an excellent beginning in nourishing a long-term relationship with the Canadian public.



Professor Donna Winslow, formerly Coordinator of the Programme for Research on Peace, Security and Society at the University of Ottawa, is Chair of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


This paper was originally presented at the conference Canada’s Army in the 21st Century held in Kingston, Ontario 8-9 May, 2003. Research for this paper was funded by DRDC Toronto as part of a larger project on Regimental Culture. The author would like to thank Dr. Carol McCann and Colonel Mike Captstick for their inspiring leadership and coordination of this project.

This paper was originally presented at the conference Canada’s Army in the 21st Century held in Kingston, Ontario 8-9 May, 2003. Research for this paper was funded by DRDC Toronto as part of a larger project on Regimental Culture. The author would like to thank Dr. Carol McCann and Colonel Mike Captstick for their inspiring leadership and coordination of this project.

  1. As Peter Haydon has pointed out, civil-military relations describe the interaction within a society between the civilian authority (the government) on the one hand and the military establishment as a profession on the other. There are two distinct aspects to this relationship: a political dimension in which the relationship concerns the interaction between the state’s political and military leaders, and a social dimension where the focus is on the relationship between the military as a distinct society and the other citizens of the state. Haydon tells us that both aspects have to be taken into account in assessing the present status of civil-military relations in Canada. See P. Haydon, “The Changing Nature of Canadian Civil-Military Relations in the Aftermath of the Cold War” in D. A. Charters and J. B. Wilson (eds.) The Soldier and the Canadian State: A Crisis in Civil Military Relations? Fredericton: Centre for Conflict Studies, University of New Brunswick, p. 47.
  2. P.J Frost, L.F. Moore, M.R. Louis, C.C. Lundberg, and J. Martin (1991) Reframing Organizational Culture. London: Sage; J. Martin (1992) Cultures in Organizations. Three Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press; J. Martin and D. Meyerson (1988) “Organizational Cultures and the Denial, Channeling and Acknowledgment of Ambiguity.” In L. Pondy, R. Boland, and H. Thomas (eds.) Managing Ambiguity and Change. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
  3. Accordingly, the question may be asked: why should scarce resources continue to be expended on maintaining a high-intensity war machine — the core of a distinctive cultural identity of the military? For example, the Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), the move to high technology/ information defence environment, will be extremely expensive, requiring continual renewal and updating and the maintenance of highly skilled personnel (read competitive salaries) even if only to remain interoperable with the US military.
  4. J. Verdon, Capt. N. A. Okros and T. Wait (1999) “Some Strategic Human Resource Implications for Canada’s Military in 2020”, Paper Presented to IUS October 1999, Baltimore MD., USA, p. 21.
  5. A “Thinkers’ Retreat on Security Challenges” sponsored by the Honourable Bill Graham, M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs, held in September 2002, concluded, “regardless of pressure from the United States, Canada should continue to pursue a foreign policy based on Canadian values, including respect for human rights, arms control and disarmament and respect for international law. Reflecting this, Canada should not be intimidated to enter into an alliance to attack Iraq. Instead, Canada should be able to speak frankly to the U.S. in defence of the principles and Canadian values as expressed in our foreign policy.”
  6. Please remember the difference between the term peacekeeping, which refers to United Nations led blue helmet operations, and peace support which can also mean support to North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) led green helmet commitments.
  7. For a good overview of Canada’s contribution to peacekeeping see David Last, “Almost a Legacy” in Bernd Horn (ed.) Forging a Nation. Perspectives on the Canadian Military Experience. St. Catharines: Vanwell Press, pp. 367-392.
  8. A. G. Sens, “The Decline of the Committed Peacekeeper.” Paper presented to the conference “Canadian Security and Defence Policy: Strategies and Debates at the Beginning of the 21st Century.” Vancouver: University of British Columbia.
  9. C. Orff, The Lion, the Fox and the Eagle. Canada: Random House of Canada Ltd., p. 2.
  10. Henry Wiseman, “United Nations Peacekeeping and Canadian Policy: A Reassessment,” Canadian Foreign Policy (Fall 1993), 1, No. 3, p. 138.
  11. Last (“Almost a Legacy” p. 371) points out that the number of deployed Canadian personnel in peacekeeping missions has actually been quite low. Only 10 out of 66 missions between 1947 and 2000 have seen troops deployed in company strength or greater. Good value for relatively low costs and low risk.
  12. M. Shadwick, “Canadians and Defence” in Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 110.
  13. The Canadian defence budget fell from $12 billion in 1994 to $9.25 billion in 1999. This represents a 25 percent reduction in fiscal outlays, resulting in force reduction. Between 1989 and 1999, there was a 30 percent force reduction. The Canadian Forces have gone from 126,000 in 1962 to 100,000 in 1968 to 80,000 in 1975, and were at 60,600 in 1999. At the end of the century, the Land Forces totalled 20,900. (Sens, “The Decline of the Committed Peacekeeper,” p. 19.)
  14. Orff, The Lion, the Fox and the Eagle, p. 22.
  15. Lloyd Axworthy, “Building Peace to Last: Establishing A Canadian Peacebuilding Initiative,” Notes for an Address by the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, York University, October 30, 1996, p. 2.
  16. The concept of human security underlines a fundamental change in the 21st Century security environment. As the Kosovo bombing campaign has shown, territorial integrity and sovereignty can be subordinated to issues of human rights. During the Cold War, territorial integrity superseded human rights. Now the tide seems to have turned in favour of human rights.
  17. Canadian Foreign Ministry Web site. http://www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/foreignp/humansecurity/ menu-e.asp
  18. See W. von Bredow, “Global Street Workers? War and the Armed Forces in a Globalizing World.” Defence Analysis,Vol. 13 No. 2 pp. 169-180.
  19. Canada, Department of National Defence, Shaping the Future of Canadian Defence: A Strategy for 2020. Ottawa: DND, p. 7.
  20. Canada, Department of National Defence, Defence Performance and Outlook 2000: Making a Difference at Home and Abroad. Ottawa: DND pp. 3-5.
  21. As I understand it, the LAV III is an excellent piece of kit, particularly for OOTW, but could not sustain heavy fire from an enemy force.
  22. M. Janowitz, Political Conflict: Essays in Political Sociology. Chicago: Quadrangle Books. Also, “From Institutional to Occupational: The Need for Conceptual Clarity,” Armed Forces and Society, Vol. 4 pp. 51-54.
  23. Janowitz, Political Conflict: Essays in Political Sociology, p.143.
  24. Ibid., p.130.
  25. For a detailed description of the Institutional/ Occupational model as applied to the CF, see D. Winslow, The Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia. A Socio-Cultural Inquiry. Ottawa: Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.
  26. J. Granatstein, 16 April 1996, news interview.
  27. C.A.Cotton, “The Cultural Consequences of Defence Unification in Canada’s Military.” Paper presented at the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society, Chicago, Illinois.
  28. J. Vance, Review Group on the Report of the Task Force on the Unification of the Canadian Forces. Ottawa: Department of National Defence, p. 18.
  29. This argument is drawn directly from Christopher Dandeker, “Building Flexible Forces for the 21st Century” in G. Carforio (ed.) Handbook of the Sociology of the Military. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, p. 412.
  30. Electronics, computers and microprocessors, information technology, artificial intelligence and robotics, telecommunications, specialty materials, precision weaponry, computer-aided design and manufacturing, and chemical process developments all figure in the list of major advances. See B. Boëne, “The Military as a Tribe Among Tribes” in G. Carforio (ed.) Handbook of the Sociology of the Military, New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, p. 170.
  31. J. Verdon, Capt. N.A. Okros and T Wait, “Some Strategic Human Resource Implications”, p.2.
  32. Outsourcing can involve privatizing a function or awarding a fixed-term contract to provide a ‘contracted out’ service — an exercise often conjoined with market testing: the submitting of an activity to a competition in which the existing in-house provider has to compete with private sector bids to provide the service for a subsequent period.
  33. This task previously fell to military personnel who could grab a weapon and defend themselves if required. Now the civilians must be protected if a dangerous situation arises. In addition, difficulties can arise from the different work cultures of the civilians and military in a peace support operation.
  34. PAE stands for Pacific Architect Engineering. Thus two engineering firms, SNC Lavalin and PAE joined forces to create a joint venture company to handle services in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
  35. The catering services were subcontracted by SNC Lavalin — PAE to an Edmonton firm called PTI, which hired the inexpensive Nepalese workers who live in the camp in a separate community of tents apart from others and only ‘socialize’ with others when they go to the junior ranks mess in the evenings to play games.
  36. See the excellent work by C. Jessup, Breaking Ranks: Social Change in Military Communities, London: Brassey’s.
  37. Jessup, Breaking Ranks, p.180.
  38. For a review of these traditions, see B. Boëne, “How Unique Should the Military Be? A Review of Representative Literature,” Journal of Sociology. Vol. 31 No. 1 pp. 3-59.
  39. There are also greater demands for transparency and public accountability. For details see P. Kasurak, Legislative Audit for National Defence. The Canadian Experience. Kingston, Ontario: School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University.
  40. For details on the integration of women in the Canadian Forces see D. Winslow and J. Dunn, “Women in the Canadian Forces: Between Legal and Social Integration,” Current Sociology, Vol. 50 No. 5, pp. 641-647.
  41. Canadian Army, Leadership in a Diverse Army — The Challenge, the Promise, the Plan. Ottawa: DND, mimeo/first draft, p. 1.
  42. Ibid.
  43. Among the important pieces of legislation affecting the Canadian Forces are: The Canadian Human Rights Act (1978); the equality section (Section 15) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which came into effect on April 17, 1985; and the Employment Equity Act, 1996 which determined that every Canadian citizen has the right to discrimination-free employment and promotion and that public institutions will strive to be representative of the public they serve.
  44. For example, as part of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the Army organized an event in the lobby of its headquarters, with the participation of the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Army Commander. In addition to listening to speeches and touring information booths, participants could listen to ethnic music and taste a variety of international cuisine. The event also included a continuous showing of “Honour Before Glory” — a documentary film about Canada’s all-Black military battalion which fought in WW I. In addition, Army corridors are plastered with various posters celebrating events such as “Black History Week.”
  45. Sir Michael Howard, “Armed Forces and the Community,” RUSI Journal, Vol. 141, No. 4, p. 10.
  46. In England, the work of Lt. Col. S. Crawford is particularly noteworthy in this connection. See Crawford’s “Racial Integration in the Army — An Historical Perspective”, British Army Review, Vol. 111, pp. 24-28.
  47. J. Verdon, Capt. N.A. Okros and T. Wait, “Some Strategic Human Resource Implications for Canada’s Military in 2020”, pp. 11-12.
  48. See C. H. Enloe, Ethnic Soldiers: State Security in Divided Societies. Athens: University of Georgia Press. Also see C. Moskos and J. S. Butler, All That We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way. New York: Twentieth Century Fund Book, Basic Books.
  49. This point raises difficult and complex issues, especially the extent to which an inclination not to pursue a military career is the result of perceived or real discrimination in the prospective employing organization.
  50. Although my source of information is anecdotal, I have been surprised by how many members of the Canadian Army have told me that they joined because their father or close family member was in the military.
  51. J. Van Maanen and S. Barley, “Cultural Organization: Fragments of a Theory” in P.J Frost, L.F Moore, M.R Louis, C.C. Lundberg, and J.Martin (eds.), Organizational Culture. Beverly Hills: Sage, p. 48.
  52. For details on this argument in the UK and Canada see D. Winslow and C. Dandeker, “On the Need to be Different. Recent Trends in Military Culture.” In Douglas Bland (ed.), Backbone of the Army. Non Commissioned Officers of the Future Army. Montreal: McGill Queen’s University Press, pp. 47-67.
  53. See J. Hillen, “Must US Military Culture Reform?”, Orbis. Vol. 43 No. 1 p. 43.
  54. Some personnel in the British services have also taken this view and it was strongly criticized by the British Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Charles Guthrie, at a conference sponsored by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), “Equal Opportunities: Learning from Experience,” held at the Royal Society of Arts, London, on November 10, 1998.
  55. “Summary of Syndicate Findings” in D. A. Charters and J. B. Wilson (eds.), The Soldier and the Canadian State, p. 65.
  56. This is not only true for Canada; in the US, the House of Representatives had 320 veterans in 1970, but fewer than 130 in 1994. In 1997, for the first time ever, neither the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Advisor, the Secretary of State, nor any of their deputies had ever been in uniform. (Hillen, “Must US Military Culture Reform?” p.54). See also M. Shields,” When Heroes Were Ordinary Men”, Washington Post, August 3.
  57. Quoted in N. Ovenden, “MPs Know Nothing about Defence’: Study,” in The Ottawa Citizen, November 5, p. A4.
  58. David Last (1999) “Educating Officers: Post-Modern Professionals to Control and Prevent Violence”. Working Paper submitted to the Chief of the Defence Staff, p.17.
  59. Ibid.
  60. D. McCormick, The Downsized Warrior. America’s Army in Transition. New York: New York University Press.
  61. Ibid., p. 21.
  62. This is well noted in organizational studies. According to the Differentiation perspective, change can result from a struggle among groups, with varying degrees of power to impose and resist change (Martin, Culture in Organizations, p.10). Different groups will try to place their representatives in strategic positions and one way to control change is to control the promotion process. Thus those who support a new culture can rise to positions of power within the organization. Changing culture can also occur naturally as new generations rise to power positions in the organization (see W. Murray, “Does Military Culture Matter?” Orbis. Vol. 45 No.1 p. 30; D.A. MacGregor, Breaking the Phalanx. A New Design for Landpower in the 21st Century. Westport, CT: Praeger, p. 42).
  63. As Boëne says, “The uniqueness of the military ...resides in the limits of instrumental rationality in combat and in the transgression of habitual social norms (notably the taboo surrounding the taking of human life.” Boëne, “How ‘Unique’ Should the Military Be? p. 29.
  64. M. Adams, Sex in the Snow, Canadian Social Values at the End of the Millennium. Toronto: Penguin Books.
  65. Ibid. p. 9.
  66. Ibid., pp. 6, 9.
  67. Ibid., p. 103.
  68. Canada, Department of National Defence, Canada’s Army, We Stand on Guard for Thee. Ottawa: DND, pp. 34-36.
  69. See Adams, Sex in the Snow, pp. 203-217.
  70. Leave and facilities for improved communication with families are also welcome improvements to service family life.
  71. My current research also shows that the Army itself is composed of occupational sub groups such as Armour, Artillery, Infantry, and Engineers each with a specific way of conducting business. Even within these groups one can note important differences between the regiments and even between battalions. It would seem that the Army too is a heterogeneous collection of groups of individuals working together in teams, whether they are combat teams or combined arms teams.
  72. Martin, Culture in Organizations, p. 3.
  73. A. J. DiBella, “Culture and Planned Change in an International Organization: A Multi-Level Predicament” in International Journal of Organizational Analysis. Vol. 4 No. 4 p. 370.
  74. A. Bryman, “Leadership in Organizations” in S.R. Clegg, C. Hardy and W.R. Nord, (eds.), Handbook of Organization Studies. London: Sage, p. 286.
  75. M. Alvesson and P. O. Berg, Corporate Culture and Organizational Symbolism. New York: Walter de Gruyter.p.168; Bryman, “Leadership in Organizations”, pp. 285, 287.
  76. See S. Fineman, “Organizing and Emotion: Toward a Social Construction” in J. Hassard and M. Parker (eds.). Towards a New Theory of Organizations. London and New York: Routledge, p. 81.
  77. Boëne “The Military as a Tribe among Tribes.” pp. 167-186.
  78. Ibid., p. 180.