The events of September 11, 2001 have caused many observers, Canadian and American alike, to re-exam- ine fundamental assumptions about defence policy. What does the United States expect of Canadian defence policy in the new international environment and what should Canada expect of itself? How could Canada best undertake a re-examination of its defence policy and what conclusions would such a re-examination lead to?
I want to argue that the new environment does not in fact change the fundamentals of Canada’s defence needs or its relationship with the United States. On the other hand, for some time now, Canada’s foreign policy and defence policy have not been very well aligned. A high- level review of the interaction of the two could serve to educate the public in both foreign and defence matters and might help raise public support for these important public enterprises. The best format for such a review is not a White Paper, a Royal Commission or a Parliamentary Committee, but rather a one-person commission along the lines of Roy Romanow’s commission on the future of health care.
At bottom, National Missile Defence aside, there is little to be concerned about in the current state of Canada- U.S. defence relations. Canada’s military forces will remain as irrelevant to the U.S. Department of Defense as they have been for the past 30 years. Secretary Rumsfeld, like his pred- ecessors, is fully occupied with U.S. national and global security issues. He will have little time for relationships with a Canadian Minister of National Defence who can add little to U.S. defence capabilities.
This is not to say the Canadian Forces do not maintain very effective operational level relationships within and across the U.S. military. Both their role in NORAD and the interoperability of the Canadian and U.S. navies contribute greatly to the expertise and visibility of the Canadian Forces. The existence of these relationships, which is sometimes more compre- hensive than specifically established by policy, was no doubt key to Canada’s contribution to the current operation in Afghanistan. But it is also important to recognize that, subjected to any rudimentary analysis of military, political, diplo- matic and economic benefits, the relationships are far more significant to Canada than the U.S. The Canadian Navy Task Group may serve as a screen for U.S. carrier battle groups but no one should be under any illusion as to the U.S. Navy’s need for that screen! (A ”œcarrier battle group” is a self-contained force. It includes integral defensive and offensive air, naval surface and subsurface, and land combat forces. The Canadian Task Group makes a statement, not a difference.)
Fortunately for Prime Minister Chrétien’s political fortunes, the Canadian Navy keeps its doctrine, equipment and procedures more closely aligned with the U.S. than does any other NATO nation, the UK included. The Canadian Task Group therefore fits seamlessly into American operations. If that were not case, Secretary Rumsfeld might have rejected Canada’s offer of (or more probably, ”œrequest for”) a military contribu- tion to the military campaign in Afghanistan.
The assertion that the Canadian Forces are militarily irrelevant to the U.S. doubtless will trouble some people, particularly within Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND). However, the lack of ”œmilitary” relevance from a U.S. perspective is also increasingly appli- cable to the rest of the United States’ allies. It will startle few serious analysts to learn that no allied forces are critical to U.S. military policy. Even a cursory read of the American National Security Strategy, the National Military Strategy and the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) reveals that these documents take no cognizance of allies’ military forces. All the references to allies are in the context of the U.S. aiding and assisting its allies, not the reverse.
The QDR in particular is very ”œimperial” in both tone and content. U.S. military capabilities are, as a matter of policy, designed from a first- principles go-it-alone perspective. Any contribu- tion by an ally, whether treaty-based or in an ad hoc coalition, is a convenient addition to, not an integral component of, U.S. military strength. The obvious inference is that the U.S. sees allied nations’ forces as existing essentially for the needs of the allied nation, though in some situations they might be useful in conjunction with U.S. forces. They might be used, as Canada’s could be, where the U.S. finds engagement not to be in its best interests. Allied nations’ forces might also be employed more directly in support of the U.S. military to increase the marginal util- ity of U.S. assets; but only in extremis would the U.S. ever consider employing an allied military component as an equal member of a coalition or to carry out an operation whose success was vital to U.S. victory. Overwhelmingly, allied nations provide the U.S. with political cover, not opera- tionally essential forces.
Those who look to the 1991 Persian Gulf War or the 2001 War on Terrorism as a counter-argu- ment will be disappointed. The deployment of the allied forces and even the recent NATO AWACS contribution under Article V do not dis- prove the thesis that allied contributions are not crucial. And in Afghanistan itself there has not yet been a case in which vital U.S. objectives have been allowed to depend on an ally’s forces. The UK, as the most militarily capable ally, might share a vital tasking with the U.S. forces, but it will only be shared, not exclusively assigned.
Neither the changeover in U.S. administra- tions nor the events of September 11 will change these fundamental facts of U.S. policy in any substantial or even superficial way. Canada- U.S. defence relationships will remain marginal- ly significant to the United States. National Missile Defense will affect the relationship pri- marily as a foreign policy issue, unless Canada ultimately and substantially differs with the U.S., which is unlikely. The events of September 11 undoubtedly have given President Bush a more global outlook, but the U.S. has not and will not become dependent on combined mili- tary forces with allies or coalition partners. Any significant change in U.S. behavior will be focused on intelligence gathering and sharing”” not combined military operations.
Because Canada’s geostrategic location makes it a vital U.S. interest, the U.S. will defend Canada as part of its ”œnear abroad” no matter what the level of Canada’s own defence effort. The Canadian Forces will therefore always be of peripheral military importance to the U.S. Canada’s military forces provide both nations with a necessary ”œfig leaf” of political cover: for very different political reasons, leaders on both sides of the border can pretend the CF are mili- tarily valuable. Mackenzie King and Franklin Roosevelt clearly recognized this strategic reality in 1938 and it has defined the U.S.-Canada defence relationship ever since.
It also justifies Canada’s long-standing aver- sion to significant defence expenditures, which in turn ensures that the Canadian Forces will remain largely irrelevant to the U.S. militarily. In terms of military capability, the U.S.-Canada defence relationship will continue to be defined from a U.S. perspective by benign indifference. This does not mean Canada’s security policy is not very important to the U.S.; it is just not important in a military force and capability con- text. The U.S. will continue to value the Canadian defence relationship and the Canadian Forces as a political cover for the freedom to act in its own best security interest.
Given the irrelevance of Canada’s military forces to the U.S. military, it is legitimate to ques- tion the frequent U.S. exhortation to Canada and other allies to increase their defence spending. The U.S. criticizes Canada from the perspective of relative effort. Canada is the world’s ninth- largest economy but her defence effort is a pale reflection of her relative economic wealth. The data presented in the charts will be familiar to most readers. On military spending, Canada is a ”œfree-rider.”
The U.S. wants to ensure sufficient allied mil- itary forces are available to see to it that its forces are not unnecessarily dragged into operations that are not in its vital or best interests. The U.S. wants allied military forces for in extremis emer- gencies (the original intent of NATO), for ”œlay- ered flank protection and rear area security” (as in NORAD and the Rio Pact in the OAS), as a ”œWestern nations’ proxy” (in peacekeeping), and, most importantly, for ”œpolitical cover” (as in the Gulf War). The U.S. certainly does not design its national security and military strategy to depend upon those forces, particularly since the end of the Cold War.
So far the discussion has been mainly descrip- tive. Turning now to prescription, should the Canada-U.S. defence relationship be redefined?
A first point to make is that any such redefi- nition must inevitably be a Canadian initiative. At the moment, the Americans get exactly what they need out of the relationship””political cover when required and a free hand to employ all of North America’s geography for American security interests. Would Canada benefit from a substan- tive effort to redefine the relationship? Probably not. Canada also satisfies her needs out of the relationship: defence of her geography at a publicly accepted political cost to her sovereignty and with the minimal economic cost of only the pretension of military forces.
If Canada wanted to go beyond this very passive political role, what might it take to make the Canadian Forces relevant to the U.S.? The short answer is defence expenditures in the realm of six per cent or more of GDP for a sus- tained period of 10-15 years before the U.S. would consider Canada a reliable military part- ner with a military of some noticeable marginal utility. (By contrast, the 1987 Defence White Paper, had it been implemented, would have required spending of about three per cent of GDP.) After that, steady-state levels of expendi- ture would probably have to be four to five per cent of GDP, depending on the technology and ”œhuman capital” mix and the external-to- defence benefit of what would be nominally ”œdefence expenditures.” Defence expenditures this high clearly would not be in Canada’s cur- rent best interests. Quite apart from the fact that they would conflict with the country’s foreign and domestic policies, they would put Canada’s economic (and therefore domestic) security at serious risk, thereby negating the benefit from acquiring a ”œrelevant” defence capability.
No nation spends its resources in the best interests of other nations, even close allies. National interest is always the critical decision variable. Nor would the U.S. likely welcome the sharing of defence policy decision-making that Canada undoubtedly would seek in exchange for its greater contribution in personnel and materiel. So it remains in Canada’s national interest to continue as a free-rider on defence. The only real issue for policy deliberation is where exactly to aim for on the trade-off contin- uum between free-ridership and foreign policy independence.
Though it probably would not lead to a change in this fundamental strategic choice, Canada likely would benefit from a close sub- stantive examination of the defence require- ments implied by her foreign and domestic poli- cies. But any such initiative needs to be firmly based in policy. At the moment, there are obvious disconnects between Canada’s defence and for- eign policies. It is not too great an exaggeration to say that the defence policy and foreign policy statements published in 1994 read as if they could be from different countries. As it now stands, Canada’s defence organization is simply not capable of meeting her foreign policy and national security needs, not even the minimal needs implied by the U.S. relationship. A more effective defence organization designed to serve both foreign and domestic policy interests would benefit Canada internationally: enhanced politi- cal and diplomatic influence facilitates economic relationships and improved human security. What Canada needs is a comprehensive, integrat- ed review of both foreign and defence policy and also of the way in which both the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Department of National Defence interact to exe- cute defence and military policy as a component of foreign policy.
Canada’s defence policy is alliance-based and her foreign policy aims at global stability because these strategies are in her overwhelming security and economic interest. In examining defence policy, which is but one part of security policy, it might be useful to distinguish between defence and military policy. Military policy might be con- strued as the military force component of for- eign, defence and domestic security policy. Military policy pertains to how military forces are designed to respond to external military threats (the classical military force role), to sovereignty needs (a military presence role), to domestic secu- rity and stability issues (a police and emergency services role), and to broad-spectrum internation- al stability operations (the foreign policy role). Obviously, there is some overlap in these roles but it may be helpful to start by examining them as separate activities.
Canada’s existing military policy is con- cerned only minimally with the classical ”œdefence against external threats,” which is pri- marily left to her NORAD and NATO alliances. And yet it is this role that has overwhelmingly informed Canadian defence organization and design, which both during and since the Cold War have been predicated on large-scale conven- tional warfare with conventional land, air and naval formations and equipment.
As for the other military roles described above, the current Canadian Forces pay scant attention to the maintenance of sovereignty, although they do provide a ”œnational presence” where the Coast Guard, RCMP or population do not. Primarily, air and naval forces linked to alliance commitments fulfill this role. In the area of domestic security, the military’s role is quite properly limited: the job is mainly left to various police forces and the municipal level emergency services. In emergency circumstances, conven- tional military force organization is easily adapt- ed to this role but most defence equipment is not suitable for it. Self-propelled artillery, tanks, fighter aircraft and ships are not much use in most domestic emergencies, though their crews can be. The Canadian Forces have been employed in this capacity fairly frequently over the past 30 years.
Given Canada’s alliances and her domestic stability, the Canadian Forces’ most important role is the foreign policy role. Operationally, this role has consumed the largest share of defence resources over the past 20 years, and the lion’s share since the withdrawal of stationed forces from Europe. Defence organization is also rela- tively easily adapted to this role but, again, much defence equipment is not suitable for it. A defence policy review needs to address military policy, and how it might best fulfill the defence, domestic and international security and, above all, the foreign policy role, since most evidence suggests the latter should be dominant.
Existing defence expenditures””as inade- quate as they might be””are probably wasted from a policy perspective. The ”œgeneral purpose fully combat-capable forces” cliché that currently informs defence organization is in fact not very well related to the nation’s needs. And until the Canadian Forces can be more firmly rooted in a policy that can be meaningfully articulated to the Canadian public, defence funding should (and will, given political reality) remain at ”œfig-leaf” levels. In the current policy environment, any funding increase would be a further waste. A comprehensive policy review is essential before defence resources are increased. Successive Canadian governments have brought the Canadian Forces to their current state by unin- formed but malign neglect and at a considerable, but indefinable, opportunity cost. Notwithstanding the clear inadequacy of current funding, the gov- ernment should for the time being resist the repeat- ed remonstrations from its critics for any funding increases; but it needs to develop sufficient vision and courage to press ahead soon with a compre- hensive defence and foreign policy review.
Canada needs to design her defence organi- zation and expenditures to be more in line with her foreign and security policy needs, and to ensure in the redesign that she achieves the max- imum technical and doctrinal interoperability with U.S. military forces. But instead of ”œgeneral purpose, fully combat-capable forces,” Canada needs ”œspecific-purpose and specific-capability forces” that reflect her foreign and domestic pol- icy, including her existing alliance commitments. This does not imply a single-purpose, single- capability force; it implies a set of specific pur- poses with a set of specific capabilities fine-tuned to policy.
Canada needs a policy-based military capa- bility that enhances her security vis-à-vis the con- tinued U.S. strategic defence of Canada and max- imizes her international role and capacity in sup- port of her foreign policy. Not surprisingly, Canada’s national and global security interests significantly overlap those of the U.S. An appro- priately designed military will enhance the effec- tiveness of Canadian foreign policy, enhance the perception of Canada’s policy independence and, when appropriate, enhance complementarity with U.S. military forces and policy in doing what the U.S. cannot do internationally. What is required is a military organization with a firm policy basis that is understood and supported by Canadians, manned by a well-educated profes- sional officer corps well-versed at the senior lev- els in the interplay and analysis of military, for- eign and domestic policy, and equipped with appropriate command, control, communica- tions, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and weapons assets.
Canadians will need to understand””and not all do””that any military force will need at least a tactical offensive capability, even for peacekeeping operations. A comprehensive pol- icy analysis will probably reveal that Canada does not need (and likely cannot afford) strate- gic reach, power or force projection, opposed assault, or deep offensive strike capabilities. Only the U.S., the UK and France currently pos- sess these capabilities in significant measure. Russia can still claim some such capacities, but in her current economic state they are probably seriously degraded. All of these functions are implicit in the ”œgeneral purpose, fully combat- capable” cliché. Some equipment now held by the Canadian Forces should be disposed of or assigned to the reserves for an in extremis cir- cumstance. A policy review should reveal exact- ly what is not needed.
The Canadian people need a genuine under- standing of defence and security issues if a Canadian military is ever to enjoy the kind of broad-based public support that this critical public good, funded by citizens’ ”œvoluntary compliance tax contributions,” ultimately requires. Such a review will bring defence expenditures into con- text with health care, education, employment, and the other human capital and social policy expenditures that Canadians value so highly. Ideally, the review would be led by those schooled and experienced in the convergence and execution of foreign and defence policy and possessed of a comprehensive understanding of the contribution the military instrument can make to foreign policy. Canada suffers from a shortage of such talent””and neither Foreign Affairs nor Defence currently possesses a capacity to understand the other. Within Foreign Affairs, substantive knowledge of the military as an instrument of foreign policy appears to be non- existent. For the most part, Defence is regarded as irrelevant to foreign policy. The employment of the military instrument in support of foreign pol- icy never extends beyond a ”œknee-jerk” response to environmental emergencies, peacekeeping or U.S. coalition needs. It is never contemplated as an instrument of foreign policy in its own right, other than in a reactive peacekeeping and coali- tion context.
Nor is Canada’s political leadership, includ- ing the House and Senate Parliamentary Committees on Defence and Foreign Policy, very interested, knowledgeable or experienced in the integration of foreign and defence policy. The lack of interest in the military by politicians is a Canadian tradition, dating from before the country’s founding. It probably springs from being a ”œdefence ward” first of Great Britain and then of the United States, coupled with the secu- rity provided by two large ”œmoats,” an inaccessi- ble northern border and the absence of an inter- ested enemy. The state of defence policy over the past 30 years certainly attests to the general lack of interest in the subject. Lester Pearson was the last prime minister who really understood the nexus of foreign and defence policy. Defence ministers in Canada rarely do; overwhelmingly, they are regional representatives in Cabinet first and defence ministers second. This is one of the shortfalls of the legislative-executive combina- tion of Canada’s parliamentary form of govern- ment. By contrast, the American Cabinet bene- fits from the selection of the very best of talent, elected or non-elected, that American society can offer.
Nor can the officer corps offer much compe- tence in the development of policy. The general officers in particular lack sufficient edu- cation in or understanding of Canada’s national interests, or foreign and domestic policies. The Canadian Forces’ inability to move beyond the ”œgeneral purpose, fully combat-capable forces” cliché and articulate a defence policy consistent with foreign and domestic policy is ample testi- mony to that inadequacy. Nor does Canada have an adequate instrument for developing such talent. The National Defence College was closed in 1994, in part because it overwhelm- ingly failed in that mandate. The current Chief of the Defence Staff, General Ray Hénault, was in the last class and he is an anomaly among his peers. Most general officers do not attend any formal professional development after attaining the rank of Major.
The education level of the officer corps compares poorly to that of the federal civil serv- ice, not to mention private-sector professionals. Brooke Claxton, Minister of National Defence from 1946 to 1954, was the first to deal with this issue when he established the National Defence College and the post-war Military College system. In 1947, Claxton made it clear in his defence policy statement to the House of Commons that every officer needed a university education: ”œThe role of the officers … can only be discharged if they have education and stand- ing in the community comparable to that of any of the professions …” The Canadian Forces’ own Rowley Report repeated that need in 1969, and in 1995 the Morton Report, another internal study, again called for a more educated officer corps, recommending that a baccalaureate be mandatory. Neither the Armed Forces Council nor the Officer Professional Development Council supported the Morton Report recom- mendation, though the latter did concede that ”œa baccalaureate … remains desirable.” The Vice-Chief of Defence Staff of the day stated, ”œthe last thing [Canadian Forces] officers need is more education””leadership is the problem,” as if to say that an informed intellect was not a component of leadership! In 1997, in response to the Somalia Inquiry, then Minister of National Defence Doug Young, echoing Claxton, again declared, ”œevery officer must have an undergraduate degree.”
Historically, the Canadian Forces have inno- cently but effectively subverted all initiatives to reshape the officer corps. They have done so largely out of ignorance, reverting to the familiar past and opting for the cosmetic rather than the substantive. The result is an officer corps that remains substantially as Claxton found it: under- educated and unqualified in strategic analysis. In 2000, the current Minister, Art Eggleton, assigned the issue of officer professional development to his special ”œMinister’s Monitoring Committee on Change in the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces,” chaired by the Hon. John Fraser, former Speaker of the House of Commons. Members of the Committee have informally acknowledged being frustrated in their efforts by the Canadian Forces leadership, largely because the officer corps cannot see the problems outsiders see. In my view, the officer corps does not know what it doesn’t know and remains destructively innocent of its ignorance. In summary, the officer corps is ill-equipped to contribute to a policy review.
As for the members of the defence lobby, they would be the worst of all possible choices to lead a policy review. Since the Korean War, the defence lobby in Canada has consis- tently pressured governments to increase Canada’s military forces and expenditures. But it has based this recommendation, not on a cogent assessment of Canada’s foreign and defence policy needs, but on the basis of what her allies, particularly the United States, both were doing themselves and were presumed to expect of her. In general, Canadian govern- ments have successfully resisted the defence lobby””ignored may be a more appropriate word””on the grounds that the government is more in touch with the real security needs of the nation. The only time when the defence lobby appeared close to having its recommen- dations adopted was with the deservedly still- born 1987 White Paper on Defence tabled by the Mulroney Conservatives. Since then it has been all downhill for the lobby.
The decline of the Canadian Forces over the last ten years has been dramatic and the noise from the defence lobby has increased corre- spondingly, reinforced by a growing corps of recently retired senior officers. International events with any sort of military context are used to point out the inadequacy of Canada’s defence commitment. The events of September 11, 2001 are being similarly exploited””even though they do not justify increased expenditures on Canada’s conventional military force structure. Yet the defence lobby still cannot see past the large formations and conventional force struc- tures of WWII and the Cold War. Like the officer corps, it remains focused on the sterile ”œgeneral purpose, fully combat-capable” cliché that Canadians, through 30 years of decline, have shown they are unwilling to support.
In summary, even though Canada’s politicians do seem largely uninterested in defence policy, the review the country needs must be politically inspired and politically led. Defence policy reviews led from within DND have been neither innovative nor confidence-inspiring. Any new review must be led from more of a foreign policy rather than defence policy perspective and the membership of any review committee should therefore probably be skewed toward the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. But, if there is to be ”œbuy-in” from the defence community, both the Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence must be represented. No doubt the review should also include representation from the business com- munity, academia, non-governmental policy analysis organizations and non-governmental organizations with an international development mandate. With such a diverse input structure, consensus decision-making will be out of the question; but divergent viewpoints must be heard.
The proposed review is likely to point once again to serious professional development short- falls within the officer corps and, to a lesser extent, within the corps of foreign service profes- sionals. Professional development in both com- munities needs to be combined at the senior lev- els. That was the original intent of the NDC and although NDC ultimately failed in its mandate, the concept was appropriate. With that failure in mind, it might be better if a future ”œCollege of Foreign and Defence Policy” were sponsored and led by Foreign Affairs. And if it were reincarnat- ed, content should be under the control of aca- demics and proven policy professionals, rather than military officers masquerading as academ- ics. (When NDC closed in 1994, one of the four ”œteaching” Directing Staff held a degree above the baccalaureate level, one had a high school diploma. The civilian ”œadult education advisor” held a Ph.D. in adult education.)
The organizational model for the review could be a new Defence White Paper, Parliamentary Committee, Royal Commission, or special advisor, in the mould of the Hon. Roy Romanow’s one-man review of health care. The important thing is that the Canadian people ben- efit from an informed public discussion of defence and its relationship to foreign and domestic policy. The model that can do that best should be selected. If the Canadian military is ever to enjoy the kind of broad-based public sup- port that a critical public good, funded by citi- zens’ ”œvoluntary compliance tax contributions,” ultimately requires, the Canadian people really need to understand defence and security issues.
In my view, a new White Paper would be the poorest choice. A Defence White Paper would inevitably be led from within the DND, which is not the preferred option. White Papers typically are developed within government, are invisible to the citizenry and are presented to Parliament as a fait accompli. As a matter of confidence, gov- ernments cannot accept substantial change to White Papers once they have been tabled, and the Parliamentary model of government there- fore sees them pushed through regardless of their shortcomings. That is not a mechanism that will help Canadians understand what the issues are and what level of defence they need.
For their part, innumerable Parliamentary Committee hearings and inquiries into defence have all been without substantive or substantial effect. These committees, whether of the House or Senate, generally operate below the general public’s radar and suffer from political partisan- ship, which discourages independent, objective analysis.
A Royal Commission could certainly deal with the kind of review that is envisaged. But Royal Commissions usually are reserved for high- ly complex problems beyond the capacity of the government to solve. Establishing one would be tantamount to an explicit admission of failure or incompetence. In the case of something as fun- damental as defence policy, that is a political non-starter. Moreover, Royal Commissions have often become controversial in their own right, whether because of cost, lack of timeliness or the government’s loss of control over the agenda.
In the end, the best solution is probably the model provided by the Romanow Commission. A one-man review gives the government reasonable but not overbearing control of the agenda and also allows it to insist on timeliness. The public can be involved more than it would be in a White Paper, while the focus on a prominent public fig- ure establishes much greater visibility than a Parliamentary Committee can.
The bottom line is that the Canada-U.S. rela- tionship is not at significant risk. The close- ness of the relationship may suffer somewhat in the near term because of the allegedly chilly rela- tionship between President Bush and Prime Minister Chrétien. But history suggests that any negative effect will not be very deep nor last very long. Much of the binational relationship is both formally and informally institutionalized so that it would take dramatic policy and personality dif- ferences to seriously damage it. The government- to-government links on all manner of trade, eco- nomic, crime, justice, environment, energy and defence policies will remain deep and vibrant. The events of September 11 will reinforce these formal and informal ties.
The defence relationship between the two countries likely will maintain its current charac- ter. It will remain politically valuable to the United States by allowing it the freedom of action it wants in defending North America. No doubt the U.S. will continue to exhort Canada to spend more on defence, but the real emphasis and pres- sure will be on security issues more related to crime and terrorism than defence, per se. As a result, Canada probably will not increase its defence expenditures because of September 11.
A defence relationship on the current model will remain politically valuable to Canada by providing her with a national defence she could not provide on her own. Canada’s own military contribution to her defence is not militarily significant. The ”œdual fig-leaf” character of the defence relationship was defined by Mackenzie King and Franklin Roosevelt in 1938 and continues today. The relationship provides a significant economic benefit by allowing Canada to devote a much lower proportion of her national income to national security than most other countries do. It is exceptionally valuable to the Canadian Forces, affording them a degree of military expertise and interoperational competence they would not otherwise have.
Notwithstanding the political value of the defence relationship as it exists, Canada would benefit greatly from a defence and foreign poli- cy review that would focus only secondarily on the Canada-U.S. defence relationship. A policy review might well confirm the existing relation- ship in a manner that might make some sover- eignty-focused Canadians uncomfortable. But if that did turn out to be the case, it would be healthy for Canadians. The overriding goal of such a review would be to bring defence policy, defence organization and defence expenditures into greater congruence with foreign and domestic policy. Whether or not Canada ended up spending more on defence as a result, Canadians need to know what they are paying for and why. Only then can the considerable expense of even a diminished military force enjoy the kind of public support this important public good requires.
This is a shorter version of the paper presented he presented at the Gimli workshop. The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Defense University, the Department of Defense or the US Government.