Canada Without Armed Forces?
Tim Cook is the World War I historian at the Canadian War Museum. He is
the author of No Place to Run: The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the
First World War.
These two small books are additional fodder to the already long barrage
by concerned academics and retired service personnel pushing for renewed
spending, a repositioning of objectives, and the targeting of
deficiencies within the Canadian Forces (CF).
Canada Without Armed Forces? contains four essays that analyze the
ongoing strain on the CF that has arisen from the consistent demands to
“do more with less” over the last two or three decades. These
detailed studies predict that without significant new resources for
equipment, training, and personnel there will be a cascading failure of
core capabilities, including the CF’s ability to support peacekeeping
and peace-building operations. The authors make a strong case for
increased spending and, most importantly, a need to understand how the
tightly stretched “present force” continues to borrow against the
balance of the “future force,” much like taking one credit card to
pay another. In the near future, the CF will be unable to support
government objectives. Yet how this has happened with an $11 billion
annual budget is not well explained. Perhaps Bland and his peers might
consider another book on what Canadians get for their billions of
dollars of defence spending and how resources should be properly
Challenge and Change for the Military consists of a hodgepodge of weak
articles on how to meet the changing demands of future threats. Only two
of the contributions deal directly with the CF and most of them have not
made the transition from conference paper to academic article. After
reading this book, one suspects that someone had extra grant money that
had to be spent; this book should not have been published. Canada
Without Armed Forces? is far better and offers insight into the ongoing
problem of the CF. One hopes that politicians and generals come to grip
with some of its hard lessons.