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Editor’s Corner

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Editor’s Corner

            Welcome to the 36th edition of the Canadian Military Journal. Time certainly flies, and it is hard to believe that we have been in print for nine full years to date.
            Taking the point this time out, Lieutenant-Colonel Tod Strickland, an experienced infantry officer, examines the phenomenon of the suicide attacker in the contemporary Middle East, “…in order to enhance general understanding of the issue, highlight some of the myths prevalent within conventional understanding of the issue,…and to offer some ideas as to how such myths can be minimized.” Next, Major Tony Balasevicius examines the Canadian Army’s recent developmental initiative of Adaptive Dispersed Operations (ADO). While Balasevicius concludes that ADO holds great potential and is generally ‘the way ahead’ for the army, he believes that ADO, in its present form, is better suited to counter-insurgency (COIN) operations than for conventional operations. However, he also believes: “Development of a UW (unconventional warfare) capability that links the concept of compound warfare to ADO would go a long way in dealing with this issue.”
With respect to operational planning, defence scientist Matthew Lauder examines the Canadian Forces (CF) Operational Planning Process (OPP), and argues that Systemic Operational Design (SOD) could be an alternative planning method that would ameliorate the rigid, analytic planning methods inherent in the present OPP, since SOD supports and embraces naturalistic decision-making. Lauder is followed by another defence scientist, Keith Stewart, who reviews some historical and current differences in command approach and command philosophy, including commander’s intent (CI). Stewart draws upon the work of other research scientists and their “theoretical framework for command and control” to interpret issues of problem bounding and problem solving in subordinates “…in terms of the relative contributions of implicit and explicit CI to the military tasking process in different organizations.”  

Space and space travel is a particularly fascinating area of interest for the Canadian defence establishment, and scholar Robert Barrett examines some of the enormous potential problems associated with crew mental health and interactions during space travel for extended periods of time, such as those associated with the planned manned mission to Mars. Robert proposes that the Red Team approach used by military and security establishments for testing/ameliorating readiness could be applied as an effective ‘tool’ for the introduction of psychological/social problems during crew training.  

Canadian Military Journal Volume 9 Number 2   Canadian Military Journal Volume 9 Number 3

In our historical section, Craig Mantle and Larry Zaporzan present the first instalment of a two-part article on the combat leadership experiences and philosophies of a true Canadian war hero and stalwart of the Canadian Armoured Corps, Brigadier-General (ret’d) Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters. In this first part, Mantle and Zaporzan deal with the general’s early experiences in the Canadian Army from November 1940 until D-Day in June 1944, including early and unique challenges of command, as well as the particular solutions demanded of these situations and conditions. Both parts examine the approaches to leadership that made ‘Rad’ a highly effective leader on and off the battlefield. In the words of the authors: “The emphasis in each piece rests heavily upon his manner of thought and the means by which he forged strong interpersonal relationships with the soldiers under his command, rather than upon more technical aspects, such as the tactics that he employed in battle.”  Rounding out our historical section, Bill Dalke outlines the origins of the Second World War’s British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) as it applied to Canada, highlighting the considerable role played by Canada’s Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, in successfully negotiating the agreement and in bringing it to fruition. Dalke contends that Mackenzie King’s vision endured, and “…[that] it ensured a distinctly Canadian role and identity, not just in the program, but in the overall war effort.”
            In this issue, Martin Shadwick tackles the ‘State of the Forces’ associated with the need for political decisions and funding for new equipment, infrastructure, and personnel, and opines as to what the Canadian Forces of 2015-2017 will be capable of accomplishing, relative to its capabilities today. He is followed by an opinion rebuttal from Lieutenant Colonel (ret’d) Dave Grossman, USA, who took relatively mild exception to a review of his works that was presented in the preceding issue of the Journal. While it is not CMJ policy to encourage rebuttals to reviews, since the reviews are, in effect, opinion pieces only, I decided to allow this one, simply because Colonel Grossman’s military philosophy is held broadly in high esteem in the Canadian Forces. Finally, we close with our usual spate of opinion pieces and book reviews to get the juices flowing.

            Well, to err is human, and here we go again… Thanks to Master Warrant Officer Steven Lehman, who pointed out that in our article on Passchendaele, which appeared in Volume 9, Number 2, we incorrectly identified Thomas William Holmes as being a major at the time he won his Victoria Cross. In effect, he was a private at the time of the occurrence. In the same issue, the map of the movement of Lord Strathcona’s Horse during the summer months of 1900 in the South African War, which highlights in green the particulars of Canada’s first Victoria Cross action, should be dated 1900, and not 1990. Further, in Volume 9, Number 3, in the photo caption on Page 12, we incorrectly identified General Hillier as “General Hellyer.” Sincerest apologies to both the general and the former minister. The appropriate corrections have been made to the on-line versions of the affected articles.

Until the next time.


David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal

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