WarningThis information has been archived for reference or research purposes.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats on the "Contact Us" page.

Editor’s Corner

Silver Dart

Library and Archives Canada PA-061741

The Silver Dart gets airborne on its maiden flight, 23 February 1909.

Print PDF

For more information on accessing this file, please visit our help page.

Welcome to the 37th edition of the Canadian Military Journal, now in our 10th year of publication. And speaking of the passage of time, important milestones have recently occurred, or are about to occur, that are very much linked to Canada’s proud military heritage. In 2009, the nation celebrated the 100th anniversary of powered flight, commencing as it did with the Silver Dart, the first heavier-than-air machine to fly from Canadian shores. Designed and piloted by John A.D. McCurdy, with design inputs from Glenn Curtis, Frederick W. Baldwin, and Alexander Graham Bell, the frail biplane lifted off the frozen surface of Baddeck Bay in Nova Scotia on 23 February 1909, and staggered along for .8 kilometres at an elevation of three to nine metres at roughly 65 kilometres per hour. My, how far we have come! Honouring service in another medium, in 2010 Canada will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Canadian Navy, and, in tribute, all our issues for the year will feature naval themes on the cover. A very happy 100th birthday in advance to all our sailor friends.

Our lead article for this issue has been penned by Carleton University’s Dinah Jansen, a specialist in both Canadian-Soviet and Canadian-Russian relations. Herein, Dinah discusses the Global Partnership (GP) established to combat the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) at Alberta’s Kananaskis Summit in 2002. She then surveys the role that Canada has played in this partnership, discusses the progress made to date in Russia, and also the numerous roadblocks and obstacles that threaten a successful outcome for this initiative.    
Next, Brigadier-General (retd) Larry Aitken chronicles the conflicts that have ravaged the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over the past two decades, and homes in on the relatively recent United Nations’ attempts to build a stable and secure environment in the region, to consolidate democracy, to promote effective governance, and to support the local peace process. Aitken concludes that the application of soft power in the region was indeed effective during the critical transition years of 2005-2007, and that there are lessons to be learned here for “…future Chapter VII mandates conducted on the continent of Africa.”

Canadian Forces reservist and scholar in the field of Homeland Security, Tracy Thibault, then examines the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) signed by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico on 23 March 2005, and challenges the claim that the real purpose of the agreement is “… to militarize civilian institutions and repeal democratic government,” and that “…ultimately what is at stake is that beneath the rhetoric, Canada will cease to function as a nation.” To the contrary, Thibault concludes that, through ongoing communication between subject matter experts, the SPP increases security and enhances the prosperity of the member nations, and that it does not change the legislative processes of these member nations.

Next, Colonel Jargalsaikhan Mendee, a former Mongolian Defence Attaché to Canada and now a Senior Research Fellow in his own nation’s Institute of Strategic Studies, examines the relatively recent Canadian Military Training and Cooperation Program (MTCP) established between our two nations. In Colonel Mendee’s words: “This program matches both Mongolia’s need for peacekeeping capacity development, and Canada’s approach to assist developing nations in a modest and mutually beneficial manner.” He concludes that this initiative is indeed providing excellent opportunities to improve Mongolia’s capability to conduct peace support operations while advancing mutual understanding between the two nations with respect to future common goals pertaining to international security.

Scholars A. Walter Dorn and Michael Varey then examine the “Three Block War” concept as it was introduced late in the 20th Century, and then enthusiastically embraced by the Canadian Forces in 2004-2005, “…and touted as the new model for Canadian field operations.” However, our authors conclude that while the metaphor “…may be a good description of some situations faced by modern forces, it falls far short as a prescription or strategic guide because it directs soldiers to carry out incompatible tasks.” They contend that military personnel cannot be expected to serve as humanitarian workers, peacekeepers, and warfighters simultaneously, and that “…warfighting cannot mix with peace support and other missions,” particularly within the small area prescribed by the Three Block War concept.

Leading off our historical section, Matthew Trudgen recalls Canada’s little-known period as a nuclear-armed nation during the decidedly chilly days of international relations during the Cold War. He argues that Canada’s policy regarding nuclear weapons during this period was very inconsistent, was personality driven, and was greatly influenced by the political leadership’s views as to what manner of defence and foreign policy the nation should embrace at the time. Ultimately, Trudgen believes that the historical lesson of this period is that, in future, “…the Canadian Forces will face a complicated policy environment littered with questions that have no clear or easy answers.”

The last of our major articles is Part Two of Craig Mantle and Larry Zaporzan’s study of the leadership attributes of a great Canadian warrior, Sydney Valpy Radley-Walters. In this concluding portion, ‘Rad’ applies the leadership elements so carefully developed in garrison to the dynamic and bloody crucible of war that would be embodied in the Normandy campaign. Widely esteemed for his results obtained as a great combat leader, the authors assert that “…these came from his particular style of leadership that struck an intimate balance between accomplishing the mission and, at the same time, caring for his soldiers.”

As the first of several Views and Opinions, defence scientist Ben Lombardi takes a second look at Australian Major John Carey’s previous CMJ piece, which asked, “Should NATO seek further expansion”? Ultimately, Lombardi expresses considerable concern with respect to the expansion process and the perceived alienation of Russia that it generates. “Believing that NATO member-states can successfully ground their policy upon the assumption that Russia will, sooner or later, accept enlargement is rather like assuming one will pay off one’s mortgage from lottery winnings.” Rounding out the section, Gordon Vachon takes a close look at Canada’s role in the re-emerging arms control and disarmament (ACD) debate and where that debate fits into the broader international security agenda. He is followed by the Royal Military College’s own John Grodzinski, who takes a fresh look at Canada’s contribution to the capture of Vimy Ridge and other Great War battles in an attempt to place them in perspective, to encourage new and original research, to dispel long-standing popular myths, and to give credit free of nationalistic ‘baggage’ where it is properly due.

This time out, Martin Shadwick provides a ‘snapshot’ review of recent Departmental capital acquisitions and planned initiatives, and this edition of the Journal concludes with a clutch of book reviews for our readership’s consideration.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal  

CMJ Logo

Top of Page