Editors Corner

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Welcome to the Summer 2013 edition of the Canadian Military Journal. After a long, tempestuous winter and a spring that we easterners thought would never arrive, the flowers are now in blossom and barbecue season is in full swing. However, so much for global warming, at least, in this part of the world...

There is no dedicated ‘Valour’ column this time out, since there were no traditionally formatted announcements of military valour awards or formal presentations of them during the reporting period. However, readers should be aware of the following official honours announcement, CANFORGEN 052/13, issued on 26 March 2013, which reads in part as follows: “On behalf of the Queen, His Excellency the Governor General has approved national honours for [three] deserving individuals.” Two members from CANSOFCOM [Canadian Special Operations Forces Command] were awarded a Star of Military Valour, and one member from CANSOFCOM was awarded a Medal of Military Valour, all for outstanding actions in Afghanistan. “For security and operational reasons, the names and citations of the recipients are not released.” We are very proud of you.

Again, quite an eclectic issue this time. We lead with three articles dealing in one form or another with Canadian operations in Afghanistan. Major Bob Martyn, an infantry officer and an academic, (as are all our contributors in this section), tackles the difficult questions associated with lessons learned through the Afghanistan experience, and what direction the Canadian Armed Forces, particularly the Canadian Army, should take in terms of force optimization for future operations. Next, Colonel Howard Coombs looks at the Afghanistan experience from a Whole of Government (WoG) perspective. He argues that although frictions did exist between military and non-military actors, by the end of the Canadian combat mission in July 2011, those issues had been largely resolved. The inter-governmental alliance had matured, “…and greatly enabled the effects necessitated by military activities by connecting them to the longer-term sustainable outcomes desired by developmental and political advisors and agencies to enable the host nation – Afghanistan.” Then, in a rather unusual change of pace, our own Colonel Bernd Horn relates a Canadian combat experience from 2011, in which Canadian Special Operations Forces, working in lockstep with the Afghan Provincial Response Company - Kandahar, delivered a decisive combat defeat to insurgents operating in the Kandahar region. This engagement generated significant praise from the American General David Petraeus, the ISAF commander at the time.

Moving right along,British Army Captain Ryan Kristiansen takes a light-hearted hypothetical look at how the International Court of Justice (ICJ) might rule in an ongoing friendly sovereignty disagreement between otherwise-good-friends Canada and Denmark over a virtually insignificant and miniscule island located in the far north. Hans Island might truly be ‘The Mouse That Roared’ in the context of trivial land claims…

Kristiansen is followed by Canadian Armed Forces Padre Claude Pigeon, who discusses spirituality as a factor contributing to mental resilience in Canadian Armed Forces members, and he situates this examination within the confines of the 2012 pilgrimage to Lourdes, France. Pigeon maintains that pilgrimages offer “… an opportunity for a religious and spiritual journey, outside of a magisterium authority. The novelty of this contribution is the reflection based on a first-hand experience of active duty military personnel who have, in unique ways, confronted and continue to confront, existential questions arising from terror, violence, armed conflicts and war.”

Then, Maxime Rondeau and Lisa Tanguay, teachers in the Professional Development of Non-Commissioned Members Division at the Canadian Forces Recruit and Leadership School ask what education is both required and viable for Non-Commissoned Members. Finally, our major articles section closes on an historical note, namely, the Dominion of Canada’s Whole of Government approach to the Red River Rebellion of October 1869. Major David Grebstad, an artillery officer, maintains that, over the ensuing eleven months, “…the young Dominion Government under John A. Macdonald employed a comprehensive whole of government approach to successfully achieve its political goal (the acquisition of what is now Western Canada).”

We have two very different opinion pieces to pique the interest of our readers in this issue. First, retired CAF Colonel Richard St. John expresses exception to Professor Michael Byers’ (Vol. 13, No. 1) statement that “…since 2006, , the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has successfully prevented a return to all-out hostilities between Israel and Hezbollah.” An Intelligence Branch officer and former defence attaché to Israel, St. John believes that, “Mutual deterrence – great fear – is what has kept another war from breaking out, not UNIFIL’s presence or activities.” Next, and as part of the Canadian Military Journal’s mandate to provide a voice to gifted young service members with interesting ideas, Lieutenant Nicholas Kaempffer, also an artillery officer, herein attempts “… to highlight how the technological innovation Google Earth is revolutionizing public access to geographic information … once under the sole purview of the state,” and that this “… has generated unintended insurgent utilization by virtue of the transition from state to public ownership of public data.”
We then offer Martin Shadwick’s thought-provoking opinion piece as to why the Royal Canadian Air Force should seriously consider augmenting its strategic airlift fleet with the expeditious acquisition of a fifth C-17A Globemaster III (CC-177) strategic transport aircraft. Then, we close with a brace of book review essays on very different subjects, and a number of individual book reviews for your summer reading consideration.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal