Modern military forces

Three of my “military heroes” are Brits who are better known for their scholarship than for the battles they actually fought:

  • B.H. Liddell-Hart wrote, especially during the 1920s, against the old fashioned, frontal assault and advocated for the ‘indirect approach;’
  • J.F.C. Fuller advocated for armoured and mechanized forces and precise air attacks; and
  • Percy Hobart, while in uniform, pioneered armoured warfare and commanded the highly specialized 79th Armoured Division …

… the Germans read their books and reports more carefully than did allied commanders and they added another dimension in the 1930s and ’40s …

… dedicated, close air support and airborne (parachute) and air mobile/air assault infantry.

In the 20th century, but, sadly only briefly, Canada actually had a proper, joint land-air force, equipped, trained and ready to fight in the form of Mobile Command which existed from the mid 1960s until the mid 1970s …

… but, as I have mentioned before, an act of military organizational madness occurred when a handful of air force generals felt “their” airplanes should not “belong” to the Army and the Navy. They completely failed to grasp the strategic, operational and tactical advantages that accrue from the sort of joint or unified organizations that former Defence Minister Paul Hellyer imposed; all they could see was that they appeared to be disadvantaged, in status, compared to what they still saw as the “competing” services.

It may well be, as I and others have suggested, that given this Trudeau regime’s evident animus towards the military, massive cuts may be needed before Canadians wake up to the fact that, just like they need but don’t like to pay for insurance and fire departments, they need an efficient (cost effective) and operationally effective military, even if it costs more than many wish to spend; but even if that is the case there is no real excuse to not reorganize the forces into a more coherent, coordinated, efficient and effective joint force.

My sense is that it may take a series of events:

  • Cuts the military imposes on itself because it cannot cope within the existing budget;
  • A mission failure ~ because there were not enough resources;
  • A new government, most Likely Conservative, led by someone who actually gives a damn about the country;
  • A sensible, open “discussion” in which Canadians get to say what they need and want from their military forces and the government, which will not raise taxes, explains what programmes it will trim or cut entirely to pay for whatever Canadians say they need; and
  • The recreation of refocused, efficient and effective armed forces that, probably, consume about 2% of GDP in their “steady state.”


3 thoughts on “Modern military forces

  1. Hear! Hear! Although I hope it doesn’t take that sort of catastrophic failure to do it.
    Legend hath it, that the reason the senior flyer / Air Command / the Air Force got all his airplanes back is because Stan Waters, God rest him, taunted the senior flyer (was it LGen Carr?) in front of Jadex, God rest him, once too often, that he, Stan, had more aircraft than the flyer. Jadex got so tired of it, he took Stan’s aircraft away, and then IOT “protect the logic” (a Tim Ryley phrase, often used in irony) had to take away the Navy’s, too. No less silly than many other rationalisations: Jadex was a wise man, but his patience was known to wear thin at times. And thus began the unravelling of the strategic-operational-tactical integration of the CF.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s