The Revolution in Military Affairs


188 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7735-2394-4
DDC 355'.0330049




Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein, Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus,
York University, served as Director of the Canadian War Museum from 1998
to 2000. He is the author of Who Killed Canadian History? and coauthor
of The Canadian 100: The 100 Most Influ


The carnage that the United States and its coalition inflicted on Iraq
in the Gulf War of 1991 demonstrated that warfare had changed.
Precision-guided weapons, satellite intelligence, sophisticated command
and control—the Iraqis were simply no match for the weaponry and
tactics employed against them. This “revolution in military affairs”
(RMA) has preoccupied global militaries ever since, and Elinor Sloan, a
former Department of National Defence analyst and now a university
professor, has produced a most useful, brief guide to where the
world—and Canada—is now.

Sloan has no doubt that the United States leads the world in preparing
for the RMA and, moreover, is increasing its technological lead. She
suggests where and how other nations might improve their technologies,
and she has no doubt that the RMA will impact peace enforcement missions
of the type in which Canada often plays a part. She recognizes as well
that although the Canadian Forces have been talking about the RMA since
1998, very little has yet been accomplished. Declining spending, laggard
procurement, and collapsing personnel strength have all played their
part in this.

Even so, Sloan concludes that shrewd investment in the RMA technologies
“might be the only way to get increased efficiency” from the small
Canadian Forces. But that will require increased defence spending, and
there is no certainty that the government is prepared to spend money on
what official Ottawa usually characterizes as “toys for the boys.”


Sloan, Elinor., “The Revolution in Military Affairs,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,