High Tech and the High Seas: Brian MacDonald


176 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919769-23-3




Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein is a history professor at York University and author of
War and Peacekeeping and For Better or For Worse.


The condition of the Canadian navy provides cause for both alarm and dismay. The fleet is obsolete, a relic of the 1950s, and only heroic measures permit some of the ships to set out from port. Plans are afoot to build new frigates, some sailors hope to see Canada acquire nuclear attack submarines, and a few even look to the eventual acquisition of anti-submarine warfare helicopter carriers.

The navy’s 75th anniversary provided the occasion for the conference on which this little book is based. The Canadian Institute for Strategic Studies brought together a substantial number of naval officers and civilian specialists in Halifax in the Spring of 1985 to discuss the impact of high tech on naval operations. There were papers on the Soviet navy’s strategy, on the West’s planning, and on possible roles for the attenuated Canadian fleet. But, as the volume’s title suggests, most of the discussion focused on technology and its impact on ship-to-ship fighting, air defence, mines, and anti-submarine warfare. The computer, not surprisingly, plays a major role these days, and its use will only increase.

This book is a useful primer on the new naval warfare. Readers will discover that it suffers from being almost a transcript of the conference, including introductions, thank yous, and questions. The editing of the papers also wobbles on occasion.


“High Tech and the High Seas: Brian MacDonald,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 28, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/36314.