… is an absolutely vital military truth. Sadly it is equally “scarcely appreciated today” as it was in 1926 when Fuller proposed it (in his book The Foundations of the Science of War).
This is, perhaps, the origin of the popular modern term “force multiplier” except, perhaps that great leaders from Julius Caesar and Ghengis Khan to Napoleon and Wellington understood the concept even before Fuller changed “sum” to “product.”
Hell’s bell’s, even Paul Hellyer understood what Major General Fuller meant: that’s why, when he both integrated (a mistake) and (correctly) unified the armed forces, he created joint (unified) commands ~ like Maritime Command and Mobile Command ~ back in the 1960s, each with organic maritime-air and army-air forces to multiply the combat power that naval and land forces had on their own. But some Canadian generals didn’t like Mr Hellyer’s attempt to multiply the operational effectiveness of our forces by making them joint and they pressed for and won a return to the sort of single service “stove-pipe” organizations that we had in the 1930s, and, sadly, those persist, against all military good sense, today.
Former Chief of the Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier, during the Harper years, used to refer to the Chrétien years as the “decade of darkness.” But we was looking at things trough the wrong lens. Yes, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien imposed deep, painful cuts on DND but they were only so painful because they came on the heels of a “decade of neglect” under Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney which followed the real, damaging “decade (plus) of darkness” (1969 to 1984) during which Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau actually wanted to disarm Canada and make us into something like a large, cold Costa Rica. So, in reality, it was “decadeS of darkness” and the plural really does matter, until, very briefly, (2008 to 2012) Prime Minister Stephen Harper actually seemed to want to turn things around … but I believe that changed, in the summer of 2012, after Defence Minister Peter MacKay (guided by his military chiefs (first General Walt Natynczyk and then General Tom Lawson)) decided to disobey the prime minister’s quite explicit policy guidance (direction, actually) to cut the bloated command and control (C²) and headquarters superstructure that Generals Hillier and Natynczyk, both very heavily influenced by US military trends, had put in place. I think that, about then, Prime Minister Harper more or less gave up on defence and turned his attentions elsewhere.
As I mentioned yesterday, the Canadian Forces need better organization and management and they need more people and more equipment and that means more money. How much is enough? My guess, like Erin O’Toole’s, is about 2% of GDP, but, as I suggested in the previously linked post, before the defence budget can be increased the
bloated now morbidly obese C² superstructure needs to be cut ~ not slashed with a chain-saw, it’s just the fat, and there is some, that needs to be sliced away, cleanly and carefully, with a surgeon’s scalpel … but cut, all the same.
The other vital military truth is that Canada needs to multiply our combat power, we want to make each arm of each service work together so that our military power is the product, not just the sum of its many parts.
That will cost money if we’re lucky … money and too many lives if we wait too long.