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Editor’s Corner

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Welcome to the latest edition of the Canadian Military Journal, a little late, due to contractual issues, but alive and well nonetheless.

Lots of interesting material in this issue, I believe. Starting with our cover image, and taking a respite from our usual Canadian War Museum war art utilization, we are honoured to have Robert Bailey’s portrayal of Canadian CF-18 Hornets taking off from their base in Italy in 1999 to strike targets in Kosovo during the Balkan campaign. For those who would like to know more about Robert’s work, feel free to visit his web site at www.baileyprints.com.

Taking the point this time out, Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, Mr. Peter Gizewski, and Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Rostek explore the meaning of and the rationale behind the Canadian Forces adopting a comprehensive approach to military operations, concluding that although challenges exist, such an approach provides a viable response to our new emerging security environment. Next, Ryan Clow takes a fresh look at psychological operations from both the historical and the modern perspectives, arguing that the mixed success to date of this form of warfare is due largely to a lack of understanding of this capability by tactical commanders. Clow believes that if Western practitioners were to acquire a broader appreciation for this form of engagement, something that has not been lost on our current adversaries, the result would be improved battlefield effectiveness.

Doctor Scot Robertson then continues his analysis of the future of aerospace power as it pertains to the Canadian Air Force in the 21st Century, again using historical examples. Scot then concludes that the greatest challenge facing our air force will rest in developing a true strategic culture – a refined ability to look beyond the horizon of today’s military aerospace activities.

Next up, we present a brace of articles dealing with issues pertaining to volunteer military organizations (VMOs) that serve to augment regular force personnel, and we do so from two very different perspectives. First, Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Brent Bankus, a Senior National Guard Advisor at the US Army War College, presents a very interesting study on how various nations, including our own, use VMOs to great advantage, particularly given the volatility and the uncertainty of today’s environment, and the unrelenting increases in operational taskings. Colonel Bankus is followed by our own Sergeant Kurt Grant, who offers a candid and thoughtful analysis of the Canadian Militia from a non-commissioned officer’s vantage point.

Given the increasing frequency of military personnel suffering debilitating stress-related injuries as a result of operational tours of duty, support programs to care for these casualties have never been more necessary. Accordingly, Doctor Don Richardson and his team discuss Canada’s Operational Stress Injury Social Support (OSISS) program, and how this innovative approach “...promises to make an important contribution in conserving human resources for the CF and in improving the quality of life for CF members, veterans, and their families.”

The OSISS team is followed by frequent CMJ contributor Peter Haydon, currently a Senior Research Fellow at Dalhousie University’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, where he specializes in maritime security issues. This time out, in an article that bridges lessons from history with current requirements, Peter discusses the acquisition plan for new destroyer-type ships in the context of the lengthy process and the modest public debate that led to the building of the 12 Halifax-class frigates in the 1990s.

In our historical section, Doctor Sean Maloney of the Royal Military College chronicles a little-known aspect of Canada’s Cold War activities, namely, the covert aerial collection programs conducted by the Royal Canadian Air Force throughout the 1950s in the high Arctic. These missions “...were leveraged with the tripartite American, British, and Canadian (ABC) intellIgence architecture to Canada’s benefit, and they contributed to the Cold War deterrence of the Soviet Union.”

We also have a Special Report in this edition. This spring marked a very important milestone in the enduring success story known as Exercise Maple Flag. Thirty years old this year, Maple Flag is a highly respected international advanced air combat exercise held annually at 4 Wing Cold Lake Alberta, and, as Major-General Marcel Duval, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division tells us, “...this prestigious event has changed, helping the air force to contribute significantly to the overall Canadian Forces transformation effort, while simultaneously providing unparalleled training opportunities for coalition partners.” On a personal note, this is a subject dear to my heart, as I was fortunate enough to help organize, plan, and then fly in Maple Flag 1 back in the spring of 1978.

We close with a usual spate of book reviews, a book review essay, and opinion pieces to pique interests and get the juices flowing. And our own Martin Shadwick takes a fresh look at the way ahead for search and rescue in Canada.

Well, to err is human, and that certainly applies to us here at the Journal. I have to confess that we really dropped the ball with respect to a photo caption in the last edition. Rather than perpetuate material that was presented to us erroneously, and not, I might add, by the article’s author, Colonel Bernd Horn, it is time to set the record straight. The offending photograph, which accompanied Bernd’s stimulating article dealing with elite military forces, is reproduced below and is now correctly captioned. The original caption (Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter 2007-2008, Page 33) read as follows: “Members of the Long Range Desert Group [LRDG – ed.], the famed Desert Rats, North Africa 1942.” Many thanks to Captain R.A.J. Meades of the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group for setting us on the straight and narrow. He correctly noted that:

  • The photo is not of the LRDG, but of Special Air Service (SAS) members ;
  • The photo was taken on 18 January 1943, not in 1942;
  • The nickname “Desert Rats” was not applied to either the LRDG or the SAS, but rather to the British 8th Army’s 7th Armoured Division, which saw action in North Africa, Burma, and Italy (as part of the Canadian Corps), and it is still the nickname of the UK’s 7th Armoured Brigade today.

Sincerest apologies to Captain Meades, Colonel Horn, the LRDG, the SAS, and all members past and present of the 7th Armoured Division and the 7th Armoured Brigade.

Until next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal

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Members of the Special Air Service

CMJ collection

“Members of the Special Air Service, including Lieutenant Edward MacDonald in the driver’s seat nearest the camera, North Africa, 18 January 1943.”

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