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Editor’s Corner

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Welcome to this, the 28th edition of the Canadian Military Journal. Lots of letters this time out, so please keep them coming. We really appreciate both the feedback and the dialogue and debate they generate.

As usual, we have a variety of topics that we hope will pique interest throughout our expanding and increasingly diverse readership. Mike Goodspeed, an infantry officer, leads with a thought-provoking piece dealing with the Sudan, based upon his own recent experience in the region. Next up, Commander Michael Craven takes a fresh look at Canada’s Victoria Class submarine acquisition program, now that it has reached a state of Initial Operational Capability, and he draws conclusions relevant to the navy’s retention of a submarine capability within today’s significantly transforming Canadian Forces. Another sailor and regular contributor to our pages, Peter Avis, then offers a comparison of several different national approaches to maritime security. Hopefully, this presentation will further a dialogue that ultimately helps Canada adapt its own approaches in this vital area in a manner that best copes with the changed battlespace of our post-9/11 world.

Next, Richard Carrier re-visits Le Collège militaire royal de Saint-Jean (CMR) 10 years after its closure and resurrection in its present form, highlighting the college’s accomplishments, and discussing some opportunities for future expansion. Then, Eric Wagner, a postgraduate History student from Queen’s University, refutes the historical myth of Canadian peacekeeping, as it has been presented by recent and distinguished commentators. Eric suggests that, contrary to what many believe, Canadian peacekeeping was not primarily Canadian altruism being exported abroad, but was the initiatives of a nation acting in both its own interests and those of the West. Major Graham Longhurst then covers the evolution of Canadian civil and military cooperation (CIMIC) to this point in time, stressing the need to articulate a starting state from which downstream improvements can be generated. In our historical section, Rob Stuart of the Communications Security Establishment puts Canadian hero Leonard Birchall’s discovery of the Japanese fleet off Ceylon in April 1942 into the full context of operations in the area at the time. Then, Béatrice Richard of the Royal Military College’s History Department re-visits Henri Bourassa’s role in Canada’s First World War conscription crisis, offering that, far from being a traitor, Bourassa exerted a very strong and gifted moderating influence during a particularly volatile period of Canada’s history.

We then offer opinion pieces by Defence Scientist David J. Bryant on the possibilities of streamlining operational planning, by Adam Chapnick on alternatives to conscription in present-day Canada in order to swell the recruitment coffers, and close the section with a spirited defence of the Second World War generalship of “Tommy” Burns by Second Lieutenant Will Lofgren. Finally, our own Martin Shadwick takes a balanced yet critical look at the results obtained by the November 2006 NATO Riga Summit and its possible ramifications for Canada. And, as usual, we close with a varied selection of book reviews.

Well, it is not a perfect world, and neither are we. Therefore, a number of errors committed in the last issue need correcting. From Vol. 7, No. 3, Autumn 2006, with respect to Allan English’s opinion piece on the Air Reserve, Allan currently teaches in the History Department at Queen’s University, and not in the War Studies Program at the Royal Military College of Canada. And from John Grodzinski’s article on Canadian generalship in the First World War in the same issue, the text on Page 84 should read that Byng proved to be an outstanding choice [for Canadian Corps Commander], not Haig, and that it was Byng, not Haig, that relinquished command of the Canadian Corps in 1917. Finally, Major Pierre Lepine is an artillery officer, not an air force officer, and Colonel Mark Hodgson is also an artillery officer, not an infantry officer. I really do not have anything against the gunners... These corrections are being delivered upon bended knees.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal

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