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The MOSART Project and CF Leadership

The Military Occupational Structure Analysis, Redesign and Tailoring (MOSART) Project is one of the many projects that will facilitate the new vision for the Canadian Forces (CF). Our project understands that the security environment is quite different today, and also that the human resource environment has changed significantly. Primarily for these reasons, the MOSART project is modernizing one of the fundamental building blocks of the HR management system – the Military Occupational Structure (MOS).

One of the clear benefits of our project will be to help identify the proficiencies and competencies of future Canadian Forces leaders. Consequently, I was interested in reading the article in your Spring 2006 issue, “Professionalism and Leadership: Requisite Proficiencies for CF Transformation”.

One of the questions our project has asked is: ‘How do you define leadership jobs so that they can be filled with the right people?’ This is an important question because, while there are certainly vital elements that are essential in CF leaders, there are also key differences between the competencies required for different leadership positions. The MOSART project’s answer to this question is to develop detailed job descriptions and corresponding competency profiles for senior leadership positions.

Your article correctly identifies the qualities necessary to develop highly effective Canadian Forces leaders. However, when it comes to putting the right leader in the right place at the right time, traditional leadership development and succession planning have been largely based upon subjective information about the competencies required for specific leadership jobs.

Through a systematic analysis of leadership jobs, the MOSART project is developing more objective criteria based on qualitative data in order that we can better develop and select leaders for specific jobs. This information is critical if we are to develop the CF leaders for today and tomorrow who can most effectively guide us through our efforts to transform Canada’s military into a more relevant, responsive, and effective force to defend Canada and Canadian interests at home and abroad in an increasingly complex and changing security environment.

Yann Hidiroglou
Project Director MOSART

I read with interest the Michael Lawless article, Canada and NATO : A Starving Fish in an Expanding Pond, in the Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer 2006 issue of the Canadian Military Journal. Serving within the Alliance as a Canadian gives one an inside view of the institution, and perhaps another perspective from that stated by Mr. Lawless.

NATO CrestI agree with him about the proud nature of Canada’s role in helping to stand up for the Alliance, and our country’s significant participation in its deliberations throughout its history. From winning the Cold War, to supporting the use of AWACS during the Article 5 deployment post-11 September 2001, Canada has always been there. I also agree with him that our influence has waned somewhat because of the massive reductions to the DND program we have undergone in the last decade. This reality should still be tempered, however, by a few other facts. Throughout the ‘lean years,’ Canada still remained a ‘top-of-the-line’ financial contributor to the Alliance. And this despite the fact that, compared to many other NATO Allies, Canada did not benefit from many of the NATO Security Investment Program (NSIP) windfalls. Naturally, ‘figures lie and liars figure,’ so much of this spending by the Canadian taxpayers went unnoticed.

Today, Canada does not need to take a back seat to anyone within the Alliance. Our boys and girls are being killed in the most dangerous and difficult NATO operation to date. Canada has deployed more than 2000 troops to this mission, and has provided leadership to ISAF over a number of rotations. Our country continues to fund NATO at a very high level, and continues to receive very little NSIP benefit. In terms of percentage of GDP spent on defence, Canada still has not met the 2 percent target set by NATO’s political leadership, but the latest increases in government spending are certainly moving us in the right direction.

The question of the utility of the Alliance remains on the table. Mr Lawless does make some good arguments – NATO as a political forum, as a means of influencing or ‘constraining’ the United States, and as a medium for discussing security issues. But one must ask oneself: If there were no NATO, how else could Canada play on the world stage? In my view, the transatlantic relationship would definitely fade. Today’s NATO forces the US and Canada to routinely sit alongside their European colleagues at the political and military level. The dialogue is not ad hoc; it is formal and regular. Secondly, and this is brought out to some extent in the article, NATO is perhaps more important to Canada and Europe than it is for the United States Canada is still, notwithstanding other views, the Americans’ most important partner in all respects. Canada has unprecedented influence over the US, because we know the US better than any other country. On the other hand, we are also very close to our European Allies; in effect, Canada can continue to serve as a bridge between the United States and the rest of the NATO Allies.

Finally, in my view, the true sign of transformation for the Alliance will be whether it can lead, manage, and complete the Afghanistan mission successfully. The stakes have never been higher, and all the NATO Allies need to contribute to the fight. For 40 years, NATO fought a ‘theoretical war,’ where filling in a crisis establishment (CE) position meant a soldier might deploy on a Reforger exercise. Today, the name a nation puts against a CE position might be the next name to appear on the ‘killed-in-action’ list. The theoretical war has become real. It is time for NATO nations to acknowledge this fact and to fulfill their responsibilities.

J.O. Michel Maisonneuve
Lieutenant-General, Canadian Forces
Chief of Staff
NATO HQ Supreme Allied Commander Transformation
Norfolk, Virginia

Re: Michael Boire, Le Marquis de Montcalm and the Battle for Québec, September 1759: a Re-assessment. Canadian Military Journal Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer 2006

I enjoyed Michael Boire’s excellent article and appreciated that it was opinion from an officer with considerable service – I recognize there is a quiet debate whether the academic militaire has a better understanding of the Operational Art. For topics where research must be buttressed with field experience, I tend to favour the literate foot soldier.

Major Boire’s reference to Montcalm’s raiding exploits during his Italian campaign (“knows and understands la petite guerre as a former practitioner”) is persuasive. However, it may also be noted that all of Montcalm’s victories in New France were “conventional” – either sieges or the defence of a fortification. His low opinion of French Canadian militia and officers may stem from the fact Montcalm never really put them to use.

General Montcalm’s application of the Operational Art is perplexing – he rushed into battle after a very quick combat estimate in the saddle, a Canadian example of Fingerspitzengefühl. (possessing an intuitive understanding – ed.) He ordered a general attack without entrenching or confiscating additional artillery from the Québec garrison – less than 900 yards to his rear. Le Marquis made the battle’s key decision: to attack before his second field force, commanded by Bougainville, appeared at Wolfe’s rear.

The “French battle” unfolded in the following stages: (1) Montcalm is made aware of Wolfe’s presence at the Anse-au-Foulon and, after an initial reconnaissance (at very long range), he orders the Guyenne Regiment to occupy the Buttes à Neveu and establish a screen. (2) He visits Vaudreuil then gives orders for the rest of his army to march to Québec, and sends a dispatch ordering Bougainville to attack. (3) Montcalm conducts a council of war in the low ground (circa 0915-0930 hours) between Québec and Buttes à Neveu while his regiments deploy around him, catching their breath. His staff officers recalled: “It was very difficult to persuade Monsieur de Montcalm ... that the flower of the British army was behind the town.” (4) Montcalm issues orders; then watches the army deploy from the crest of les Buttes à Neveu; (5) At 10 o’clock he signals the advance – without waiting for Bougainville.

The infantry attack will be conducted entirely by Montcalm’s subordinates as per doctrine and will include two long-range volleys with supporting fire from skirmishers. Montcalm will watch the proceedings from his horse atop les Buttes. He will issue no tactical directives.

The appearance of clouds of skirmishers on the British flanks seems to be natural petite guerre phenomena, and not particularly developed by Montcalm during the battle. He had no trained skirmishers available – each regiment’s Light and Grenadier Company had been sent with De Levis to Montreal, in anticipation of Amherst. The skirmishers directly to the front of the French army were a mix of Militia and Guyenne. Save for some derisory bush, they had little cover. British casualties from this battle (664 vs. at least 800 French) are considerable and could not have been all caused by canister or the ragged volleys of Montcalm’s army. None the less, the fire directed against the British before 10 o’clock was effective enough to force Wolfe to order his army to lie down.

It should be appreciated that Wolfe’s gambit at Anse-au-Foulon required a French attack. It was not an elegant solution and completely dependent on Montcalm’s cooperation. The British stood an excellent chance in the defence, whereas their attack (the debacle at Montmorency was the most recent bloody example) was volatile and unpredictable – particularly with open flanks.

I am intrigued by the doctrinal minutiae of the battle itself. There are two aspects to this – terrain and tactics. Major Boire properly appreciates the significance of “les Buttes à Neveu” – a humble but dominating elevation west of Québec’s walls. This is the ground of tactical and operational importance to the battle. As long as Montcalm holds it, Wolfe is pinned to the cliffs and sandwiched between Bougainville and the main French force. The British can neither see Québec from their position nor prepare for enemy manoeuvre until the French actually march over the crest line. The flanks are held by French Canadien Militia and Indians. Meanwhile, Wolfe’s Light Infantry is screening his rear – militarily, he is blind. Tactically, he has enough real estate to create a killing zone: he orders each regiment to send a sergeant to pace out 40 metres in front of the British battle line and drive a wooden stake into the ground to mark that distance.

The tactics of the formal assault make better sense if it is appreciated they simply represent French doctrine, specifically, le Feu de Baillebaude. Though often translated as an undisciplined form of attack, it actually represents a French cultural preference for a noisy, intimidating assault supplemented by considerable unaimed fire, the psychologically daunting pas de charge, loud huzzas and concludes with the shock of the bayonet attack. Correspondence with the French Army Historical Section at Fort Vincennes gave me better understanding of 18th Century doctrine. I would argue it is more Feu de Baillebaude tradition than the republican zealousness of sans culottes that accounts for the mechanics of the Napoleonic infantry assault.

The French advance was interrupted by ordered volleys – this often leads to some historians slamming the undisciplined French Canadian Militia for disrupting the regimental formations. There are two explanations that should be considered: the tactics of irregular warfare learned in la petite guerre, and secondly, that the disruption of the Militia on the regular battalions is exaggerated. The tactics learned in the forests of North America were to fire, then roll or move away from the initial position to reload behind cover. They did not load “lying down.” Rolling about in formed ranks would have been difficult – the Militia cadres were in the second rank, buttressed by regulars fore and aft (“les Canadiens qui formaient le second rang et les soldats du troisième”). French massed volleys required halting, dressing, firing, reloading, again dressing ranks, then finally marching forward, with officers leading and sergeants to the rear. The French did this twice.

The two formations on the left (Royal Roussillon and Montreal/Trois Rivieres Milice) scuttled down steeper terrain, attained some momentum and advanced more rapidly than the centre and right. In the middle, the Bearn and Guyenne Regiment’s columns did not pause to fire and they constituted Montcalm’s most serious threat: they could absorb casualties and press home the bayonet assault. These units moved against the centre portion of Wolfe’s line – where his better regiments (the 47th, the 43rd and the 78th Fraser Highlanders) were stationed. It is here that John Fortescue’s too widely quoted comment (“most perfect volley ever fired”) probably occurred. It is correct to suggest there were three separate though concurrent actions on the Plains of Abraham.

The reported range when the British opened fire differs – from 50 to 20 yards. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that most British battalions initially fired by platoons – a drill favoured and revised by Wolfe before battle. The first French mass volley may have been given at more than 100 yards and acceptable in Feu de Baillebaude doctrine. The second volley was likely given at 50 yards. Eyewitness accounts again vary – Parson Roby Macpherson of the Fraser Highlanders (standing beside the 47th) wrote:

The Columns of Regulars... advanced Briskly on the Plain ‘till within little more than 30 yards of the British who waited for them with Rested firelocks when made a Stope looking at one another for 2 or 3 minutes, the one desirous that the other wou’d first fire, at last the Enemy began & made 2 most furious discharges. When ours were ordered to fire, which they did in so good a Level and to such purpose the Body of the Enemy were put into great Confusion by the Slaughter made among them...1

Some accounts record that general musketry continued for six to eight minutes. The first British volleys – double shot from the .75 calibre Brown Bess – were the most deadly.

Boire ends by quoting de Guibert: the French Army was a “machine [...] so worn out that even a man of genius could only touch it with trepidation.” That is perhaps true, but I believe General Montcalm’s rashness is worth noting: he played directly into Wolfe’s hands and ignored his own superior tactical position. The British could not threaten the French communications from the Plains of Abraham – this is illustrated by the fact that the remainder of Montcalm’s army left Québec City after dark, marched past Wolfe’s forces via the Lorette road, and reached Montreal without difficulty. The city surrendered two days later.

Finally, an argument in defence of the tactical conduct of the French regiments should be considered. The general grousing against the militia is often based on de Malartic’s interpretive observation. Montcalm’s troops followed continental doctrine in what was essentially a continental battle. Their ability to press home with cold steel was scotched by steady, deliberate musket fire at both medium and close range by British regulars. The main principles of the Feu de Baillebaude doctrine continued as part of French infantry tactics until 1914.

I congratulate Michael Boire on a stimulating article.

Roman Jarymowycz
Beaconsfield, QC

Lieutenant-Colonel (ret’d) Jarmowycz is the former Dean of the Directing Staff of the Militia Command and Staff Course at Kingston. He currently teaches in the Department of Continuing Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada.


  1. I am indebted to LCol Ian Macpherson McCulloch for information from Scottish archives, and recommend his definitive work: Sons of the Mountains, The Highland Regiments in the French & Indian War, 1756-1767; 2 Vols (Robin Brass, Toronto, 2006). Québec master historian René Chartrand has been an important influence as well.

An Integrative Model for Assessing Military Leadership Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer 2006 

CMJ CoverI am writing in response to the work of Dr. Tim Mau and Alexander Wooley in “An Integrative Model for Assessing Military Leadership” that appeared in the Summer 2006 issue. I personally found this to be an unsatisfying article, and I am led to question the basis from which it was written.

In my opinion, the authors’ first problem is that they never really articulate their understanding of how leadership works in the Canadian Forces (CF). Without being able to determine the authors’ reference point, it is difficult, either to understand their particular assumptions, or to know why they feel it is so urgent to raise some of the issues that they do.

The next difficulty is the statement that the act of developing leaders at all levels “...is certainly not so easily reconciled with the functionally hierarchical command-and-control culture of military units.” They further suggest that there may be a “paucity of evidence” to suggest that this actually happens. In my opinion, this is simply not true, and furthermore, it flies in the face of plenty of solid empirical and historical evidence, both from within the CF, and from other armed forces as well. I submit that without constantly “developing leaders at all levels,” the “command-and-control culture” would either grind to a halt, or it would collapse under any meaningful stress, such as combat or dispersed operations. This practice continues today, and as far as I can tell, it has borne fruit in many places, from the hills of Croatia to the plains of Afghanistan.

The authors then question whether any existing models of leadership are truly applicable at all levels of the organization. My response would be: “No, of course not,” but my follow-up would be that in the CF, the need for varied styles of leadership in various situations has been understood, articulated, and practised by all ranks for a long, long time. In fact, single individuals at a given rank level may often successfully employ different approaches, depending upon where they find themselves: field unit, training establishment, staff, and so on. The military would not work very well if this were not the case.

Mau and Wooley subsequently engage in a somewhat unrealistic attempt to dissect the relationship between ‘peacetime’ and ‘wartime’ situations, and the types of leadership that might be applicable in each case. All CF leaders know that their business is ultimately to prepare both their organizations, and the people in them, for operations.

The rapidity with which our forces must transition from garrison life to dangerous deployed operations, from benign nation-building to intense combat, and sometimes quickly back again, renders of very little utility, in my opinion, too fine a distinction between ‘peacetime’ and ‘wartime’ leadership styles. It might even be dangerous.

The authors redeem themselves at the end of the article, when they state that “different styles of military leadership will be required, depending upon whoever is assuming the leadership role and the context in which he or she is situated.”

To which I would reply: “Yes, exactly.” It is true today, and it was ever so.

David J. Banks

Lieutenant-Colonel Banks is currently the Programme Coordinator of the Advanced Military Studies Programme at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

Force Disparity or Knowledge Disparity?

Re: “The End of Asymmetry:
Force Disparity and the Aims of War”
Canadian Military Journal,
Vol. 7, No. 2, Summer 2006

After reading Peter Denton’s article, I am convinced that this article is a clear example of comparing apples to screwdrivers and it affirms the author’s deduction that there is little value to be had when doing that.

What the author has obviously hoped to unveil as a novel idea wrapped up in a catchy term is really nothing more than a miscellany of existing concepts and processes currently employed by most western militaries, including the Canadian Forces (CF). Canadian defence analysts do not ignore force disparity, as the author would have readers believe. When assessing the current and future security environment, CF threat assessments take the disparity between two actors’ forces into consideration, a task admittedly made more challenging by the current asymmetry and ‘de-statization’ of warfare that often promotes the privatization of conflict and obfuscates the line between who is a combatant and who is not. However, there is no absolute linkage between the disparity between forces and the type of conflict that may be generated by it, and ‘force disparity,’ as the author has defined/described it, would create several phases of conflict, not just the two that Dr. Denton has loosely modeled after the specific examples of the Iraq war and Afghanistan.

These many phases of conflict are already well identified in CF strategic assessments, force development, and conceptual and doctrinal design as the full spectrum of conflict. The full spectrum of conflict ranges from Peacetime Military Engagement (PME) through to Major Combat Operations (MCO), and, as current operations have shown us, more than one phase of conflict may exist at any time in a single theatre. If Dr. Denton truly appreciated the many phases of conflict as they exist, he would also realize the fallacy of his notion that they are somehow mutually exclusive, or that a nation’s armed forces could operate exclusively in one phase while ignoring the causes and consequences of another.

Hence, why ‘foreign aid serves security as well as humanitarian interests’ is yet to be proven effective in all areas of conflict, or even in areas that are conflict prone. In fact, research recently published by the Belfour Center for Science and International Relations at Harvard University has demonstrated that humanitarian assistance can exacerbate or prolong conflicts, or, in some cases, can even be the cause of them. Neither is there equivocal proof that foreign aid nor humanitarian assistance alone can create security and stability. They are, in fact, but one part of the requirement to end conflict and bring sustainable peace to a war zone.

Dr. Denton’s five points at the end of the article highlight, in my opinion, how his facile argument is based upon a total misunderstanding of the roles both military enterprise and technological change play in international relations and national welfare. To suggest that the CF should abandon its capability to provide for the defence of Canada and Canadian interests abroad to replicate some or all of the capabilities already resident in other government and non-government organizations is simply ludicrous. There is an endless stream of evidence supporting the fact that militaries incapable of defending themselves or effectively combating their adversary will be unable to attempt any action during the stability and reconstruction phase of operations, which was the author’s so-called second phase. Both past and current conflicts have demonstrated repeatedly that international deployments solely focused on force protection at the expense of any other capabilities are doomed to failure, and will be utterly incapable of providing adequate humanitarian assistance or the security conditions for others to provide humanitarian assistance.

The author is naïve if he believes that the independent deployment of tactically self-sufficient non-combat units would minimize interoperability issues. Unless he expects the CF to avoid any and every theatre of conflict where other coalition forces, Allies, NGOs, and so on, are operating, interoperability with other countries, as well as third party actors, is a must in modern CF conceptual development and doctrinal design, and it will be complex in any situation. Again, this further illustrates the author’s lack of understanding of contemporary and future security environments, or the requirements to operate successfully within them. Besides, if we were to follow the author’s first four points and castrate the CF of any combat capability, then from where will we recruit, and who will train, the ‘high tech’ super soldiers the author has demanded for domestic counter-terrorism and Canadian targeted strikes abroad in his fifth point?

Andrew B. Godefroy

Major Andrew B. Godefroy, CD, PhD, is head of research, outreach, and publication at the Directorate of Land Concepts and Doctrine, and is the editor of the Canadian Army Journal.

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Soldier and civilians

DND photo AR2007-M012-0070 by Captain Dave Muralt

Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team commander Lieutenant-Colonel Simon Hetherington addresses the assembled elders and personnel from the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team at the ceremony to mark the reopening of the Sperwan School, on 20 January 2007.