Editorís Corner

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Welcome to yet another summer edition of the Canadian Military Journal in this bicentennial year of commemoration of the War of 1812. In keeping with this theme, Canadian Amherstburg Ontario artist Peter Rindlisbacher graces our cover with his depiction of the brig HMS General Hunter off Fort Malden, Amherstburg, Upper Canada, near the mouth of the Detroit River, 17 August 1812, in advance of an approaching squall. The General Hunter, built in the Amherstburg Navy Yard the year prior, was first rigged as a topsail schooner, then was converted to an armed brig, and, as a warship of the Provincial Marine, she fought with Commodore Barclay’s British squadron on the Great Lakes.In Rindlisbacher’s painting, the ship is returning from Major-General Sir Isaac Brock’s victory over Brigadier General William Hull at the Siege of Detroit, 15-16 August 1812, where she was used in support of the battle. The General Hunter was eventually captured by the Americans at the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. Her hull was discovered buried in the sand of the public beach at Southampton, Ontario, during the spring of 2001, and was positively identified four years later.

With respect to our current issue, Lieutenant-General Tom Lawson, the Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the North American Aerospace Defence Command, (DCINCNORAD) leads the way with an update on this highly successful and enduring binational alliance, now about to enter its 55th year in being. While the mission has been modified somewhat over the years to accommodate changing strategic realities, General Lawson contends that NORAD remains just as relevant today as it was when it was created back in 1958, and that it “… represents the best of what can be produced when Canada and the United States seek similar goals.”

He is followed by Juan Castillo, a very articulate and well-educated Reservist who works for a consultancy firm that specializes in intelligence, due diligence, and cyber and physical security. In offering a valuable instructional tool for present and future interventionists, Castillo examines today’s concept of Cultural Irregular Warfare, “ … how different armed non-state actors employ non-kinetic doctrines and tactics to influence civilian populations as they seek to erode the normative power of the state.”

Next, Major Jim Gash, a member of the Future Concepts Team at the Army’s Directorate of Land Concepts and Design, discusses today’s cyber environment, arguing that it is “nothing new,” and that it is “… simply a unique manifestation of the electromagnetic operating environment – a familiar component of military operations, with integral operating concepts and principles that lend themselves well to cyber.” He concludes that, in examining the future security environment, astute planners must fully understand just what cyber is, how it fits into the traditional environments, and the full range of force enhancement capabilities that it offers.

It is certainly ‘a given’ that today’s international security market is “… uncertain, volatile, and fraught with risk.” Lieutenant-Colonel John Anderson of the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre acknowledges these realities, and opines that, as surely as Globalization and the Information Age have added a new measure of complexity to modern conflict, new and emerging technologies have spawned networked approaches to comprehensive operational planning and design. In this article, Anderson offers “… that these new approaches apply in the cognitive realm as well, in the way in which staffs design and plan military actions to deal with the complexity of modern conflict.” He demonstrates, through a three-year experiment with an alternative approach to operational design, that, when dealing with today’s complex, irregular, and asymmetric operational problems, the old ‘tried and true’ methods may no longer constitute the optimum approach to campaign planning and design.

This issue contains two articles dealing with humanitarian aid considerations. In the first, a team of Canadian Forces/Sunnybrook Hospital surgeons reviews the literature dealing with the principles surrounding humanitarian relief surgery practices, analyzes the Canadian Forces surgical response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake, compares the CF response to contributions made there by other military forces and NGOs, then proposes a new humanitarian relief surgery doctrine that will achieve recently-identified mission objectives. In the second article, this one of an historical nature but with lessons for the future, Professor Joseph Scanlon and Commodore Elizabeth Steele recount the experiences of Canadian Forces Joint Task Group 306, Canada’s multi-service task force deployed to help our neighbours to the south recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina in September 2006. Many valuable lessons were learned and then applied downstream in Haiti, and the value added from being able to operate with our American counterparts was second-to-none.

In our Views and Opinions section, Captain Alan Lockerby, the Tactical Air Control Party Officer at CFB Gagetown’s Combat Training Centre, recounts his experiences as a Strike and Armed Reconnaissance Coordinator aboard CP 140 Aurora aircraft flying operational missions over Libya in support of Operation Mobile and UN Security Council Resolution 1973 during the autumn of 2011. Next, Professor Bill Bentley and Colonel Bernd Horn examine the ‘value added’ of higher education for senior officers in today’s armed forces, and offer that while the investment is undisputedly high, “… the responsibility of senior officers to navigate the institution through an often ambiguous, perpetually changing, and always complex and dangerous world imposes the obligation on its stewards.” Closing out this section, Michael Rostek, long-time soldier and currently the Executive Director of the Royal Military College Club of Canada, examines the future of alumni organizations, and argues that “… they must proactively engage in future analysis in order to remain relevant to their membership.”

Martin Shadwick is taking a brief hiatus this time out, due to particularly demanding marking responsibilities at York University (I can empathize), but he promises to be back in full form for his many readers in the autumn issue. As always, we close with the usual clutch of book reviews for your consideration.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal