Editors Corner

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Welcome to the 50th issue of the Canadian Military Journal. As one who has been associated with the publication from the outset, I take great heart from its enduring nature, but I am also humbled by the all-too-rapid passage of time that has brought us to this stage of our development. All of us here at ‘Ground Zero’ appreciate the continued and frequently-articulated support we receive from you, our readership, and we look forward to providing informative and thought-provoking coverage with respect to a host of defence-related issues for a very long time to come.

And now, on to the current issue. Taking the point, Lieutenant-Colonel Kimberley Unterganschnigg, a senior Canadian Forces logistician with considerable deployment experience, reviews Canada’s Whole of Government (WoG) mission experience in Afghanistan, and presents the findings and recommendations that arose from an end-mission workshop that was convened to determine the lessons learned and the best practices gleaned from the field operations mounted there. Next, on a technological bent, armoured officer Captain Michael MacNeill offers that while traditional methods of increasing armour protection, such as add-on armour packages, have evolved over the years and certainly have merit, “… such considerations should also embrace non-traditional protective measures.” MacNeill argues that any future Canadian expeditionary force activities should also embrace Active Protection Systems, which are proactive in that they eliminate incoming projectiles before they can reach the target vehicle.

Stéphane Blouin, a Defence Scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada, notes that the concepts of ‘complexity’ and ‘complex systems’ have proliferated  in many forms of literature, particularly that related to policy, economics, management, and science, but they remain difficult to fundamentally understand, “… partly due to a lack of clarity with respect to definitions, concepts, and principles.”  To that end, the aim of his article is to introduce our readership to the concept of complexity itself, to include its various tools, and its impact upon military operations.
We offer a rather extensive military history section this time out. In deference to the Senior Service, Commander (ret’d) Mark Tunnicliffe, a former sailor turned Defence Scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada in Ottawa, charts the birth and development of the embryonic Department of  the Naval Service of Canada in 1910 and beyond, with particular emphasis upon its Fisheries Protection, Tidal and Current Survey, Hydrographic Survey, and Wireless Telegraph branches. Moving right along, Ryan Goldsworthy, a post-graduate specialist in Canada’s combat role during the First World War, homes in on what was perhaps the Canadian Corps’ most memorable accomplishment of the war, namely, the Hundred Days Offensive of late-1918. “Ultimately, this article will argue that while on the tactical level, and to a lesser extent, the operational level, the offensive was successful, Canada’s Hundred Days was by and large a strategic failure.” Goldsworty then goes on to opine that a model adapted from this experience can now be applied to any modern Canadian military engagement, in order to comprehensively determine its success or failure. Concluding this section, Royal Military College professor Mourad Djebabla examines the relationship of Canadian farmers to the First World War effort. According to the author: “The problem was that it was difficult to know which duty was more pressing: stay in Canada and work the land to produce food, or, as recruiters were urging men to do, join the Canadian Expeditionary Force and fight in Europe.”
In our Views and Opinions section, former fighter pilot Brigadier-General Dave Wheeler, currently the Director of Air Staff Coordination for the Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, tables an embryonic training concept of operations for Canada’s future fighter aircraft, whatever that may be. He is followed by Major Dan Doran, a reservist combat engineer, who argues, “…that reservists must not only be given a clear mission, but must train in a manner that supports said mission.” Doran opines that is currently not the case, and that “…[this] must change to prevent further attrition of members as a result of lack of interest.” Chief Warrant Officer Ralph Mercer closes this section with a review of current Non-Commissioned Member (NCM) education in the Canadian Forces, and argues: “By enriching the breadth and depth of education opportunities for NCM self-improvement, and, while fostering a culture that appreciates and rewards individual intellectual growth, the CF will mobilize its greatest asset for operational success, its people.”
Finally, we offer Martin Shadwick’s latest stimulating and probing commentary, this time examining the potential roles and contributions of the Canadian Forces in the upcoming years, comparing today’s situation to that experienced during “… the relatively relaxed Canadian approach to security and defence that characterized  the détente era.” We then close, as usual, with a rather extensive selection of book reviews for further consideration by you, our readership.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal