The Future of Warfare: Canadian counterinsurgency manual reflects US-Canada "synergy" Anthony Fenton
The Enduring Value of NORAD General Victor E. Renuart Jr. USAF
The Future of Warfare: Canadian counterinsurgency manual reflects US-Canada "synergy"
Reprinted with permission from the July 2009 isssue of The Dominion.(www.dominionpaper.ca).
Capping a sweeping transformation that began in the late 1990s, the Canadian Forces recently issued their first counterinsurgency (COIN) operations doctrine, which will help Canadian soldiers prepare to fight the wars of today and the "foreseeable future," alongside its chief ally and the sole global superpower, the US.
In development since 2005, the COIN manual was authorized by Chief of Land Staff Lt. Gen. Andrew Leslie in the waning days of the Bush administration. It was not formalized for another two months-six weeks after the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Obama's administration has sent clear signals, through political appointments and holdovers (such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates), that the US military and national security apparatus' transformation toward fighting smaller, "irregular wars" begun under Bush will continue apace.
Only a week before Bush left office, Gates, together with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the Director of USAID, Henrietta Fore, co-signed the US Government Counterinsurgency Guide. Neo-conservative historian Eliot Cohen, who oversaw the Guide's creation, wrote in its introduction:
Insurgency will be a large and growing element of the security challenges faced by the United States in the 21st century...Whether the United States should engage in any particular counterinsurgency is a matter of political choice, but that it will engage in such conflicts during the decades to come is a near certainty. This Guide will help prepare decision-makers of many kinds for the tasks that result from this fact.
According to Lt. Gen. Leslie, the Canadian Army is "at the cutting edge" of Western armies readying themselves to fight 21st-century wars.
The paradigms of the past based on the Cold War have changed a great deal. We have demonstrated beyond any doubt that we can adapt our doctrine and training quickly in order to meet scattered, complex operations focused on counterinsurgency missions" Leslie told a Senate defense committee meeting in March.
Shifts in Canadian policy adhere closely to those of her allies, like the US, the UK and other NATO partners. These governments are at the forefront of institutionalizing COIN principles and practices in military culture, across the "whole-of-government," and, eventually, within the "whole of society."
Based on the "comprehensive approach," the Canadian COIN manual represents a synthesis of two recent US Army Field Manuals: Counterinsurgency (FM 3-24); and Stability Operations (FM 3-07).
In 2007, after over one-and-a-half million downloads, the US Army COIN manual was published in print by the University of Chicago Press and received wide media coverage. The subsequent US Army Stability Operations Manual, published in early 2009, has also been widely distributed. By contrast, the Canadian manual is not yet publicly available. A copy of the Canadian COIN manual was obtained by The Dominion from the Department of National Defense.
Writing in the Canadian Military Journal last fall, Leslie defined the comprehensive approach as the "ability to bring to bear all instruments of national and coalition power and influence upon a problem in a timely, co-ordinated fashion." This definition aligns with that of the US Army, as found in the Stability Operations Manual:
A comprehensive approach...integrates the co-operative efforts of the departments and agencies of the United States government, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, multinational partners, and private sector entities to achieve unity of effort toward a shared goal.
The concept of "unity of effort" is drawn from classical counterinsurgency theory and doctrine. In 1966, John J. McCuen wrote in The Art of Counter-Revolutionary War that, "Unity of effort...is extremely difficult to achieve because it represents the fusion of civil and military functions to fight battles which have primarily political objectives."
As the Canadian manual foregrounds, today's insurgencies remain inherently "a political problem.""The nature of operations today and in the future will resemble the Three Block War construct-one that demands that soldiers interact with many different players other than their own armed forces, and undertake non-traditional tasks," wrote Leslie in the Canadian Military Journal.
In October 2003, Hillier made the Three Block War scenario "a guiding concept for the Canadian Army."Hillier's support for the Three Block War was one of the reasons he was selected to be Chief of Defence Staff in 2005. According to then-Prime Minister Paul Martin, "[Hillier] advocated a concept called the ‘three-block war,' to describe the [military's] mission...This was not a rejection of our peacekeeping tradition, but a revision to suit tougher times, and I supported it."
Martin's government dovetailed the Three Block War approach with the broader institutionalization of the "whole-of-government" (or 3D: Defence, Development, Diplomacy) foreign policy approach in its International Policy Statement of 2005. This trajectory has continued, with minor modifications, under the minority Conservative governments of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
That Canada should shift its foreign and defence policies in concert with the US comes as no surprise given their close historical relationship, even if the level of integration is often downplayed by the mainstream media. "No two militaries are more closely united than those of the United States and Canada," said US Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins in 2007.
With counterinsurgency practices and principles on the rise under the Obama administration, an increasing level of "COIN-synergy" exists between the two militaries.
"We are learning from others. I happen to know General David Petraeus, who is very good man. You will find that some of our recent philosophies closely match his and those of the US Army and our friends and allies," Lt. Gen. Leslie told the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence in March.
Gen. Petraeus is likely the person who contributed the most to the resurrection of a new "counterinsurgency era" in the US. He oversaw the drafting of the US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual in 2005 and 2006, and supervised its implementation during "the surge" in Iraq in 2007.
As Commander of US Central Command, Petraeus currently oversees both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Many followers of Petraeus have risen to prominence within Obama's cabinet; others have gone on to become "experts" in private think-tanks and appear regularly in the US media as proponents of counterinsurgency war.
Petraeus visited Calgary this week for a "social" meeting with Canada's top military brass. Partly a public relations exercise, the meeting saw Petraeus and Canadian Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk, who once served in Iraq at the same time as the US general, donning cowboy hats as they attended the Calgary Stampede. There, according to Petraeus, they discussed "the way forward for the next two years" in the COIN fight in Afghanistan.
Petraeus was subordinate in rank to Natynczyk when the Canadian general was Deputy Commander of the Multi-National Corps in Iraq in 2003-04. At the same time, Petraeus commanded a small number of Canadian soldiers in Iraq on a low-key NATO mission to train Iraqi soldiers, according to declassified documents obtained by The Dominion via Access to Information.
The clearest embodiment of COIN's institutionalization and the Canada-US "comprehensive approach" can be found in the US Army and Marine Corps COIN Center. Established at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 2006 by Petraeus and US Marine General James Mattis, it was from the COIN Center that the US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual (FM 3-24) was drafted.
The COIN Center's pamphlet describes its purpose as "facilitat[ing] the development of a culture that enables us to more effectively adapt as a whole government when called upon to deal with future COIN or COIN-like threats."
Canada is identified in the pamphlet as a key COIN-partner of the US in the "COIN SITREP reports" that Lt. Col. Daniel Roper, Director of the COIN Center, publishes periodically. "Each country needs to institutionalize it in a way that works for them," Roper told The Dominion. "But I see some pretty impressive collaboration at the inter-agency level in Canada, with people of cross-functional expertise trying to grapple with some issues; some similar things that we're doing."
Since General Leslie signed off on the COIN manual last December, the COIN Center and Canada have collaborated on more than 20 exchanges, including "COIN Leader Workshops" and "COIN Integration" meetings. Members of the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) met with the COIN Center for discussions about "US-Canada COIN synergy" five days after Leslie wrote in his issuing order for the new COIN doctrine that it is "complementary to our allies."
In April, the US COIN Center "visited military installations and think-tanks in Canada to inculcate the Canadian military establishment with COIN doctrine and best practices."
During one presentation with top officials from Prime Minister Harper's government, the COIN Center found that "policy advisors were most interested in how the merits of [Canada's new Afghan COIN] strategy could be explained to the Canadian public and Canadian political leadership."
Figuring out ways to sell the COIN campaign to a skeptical Canadian public has been a key aim of the Canadian government and military, and Canada's COIN manual emphasizes the goal of "creating and maintaining the legitimacy of the campaign." One of the central figures steering the Canada-US COIN-synergy is Lt. Col. John Malevich, who joined the COIN Center in November 2008 by way of a newly created exchange program between the two countries. He is currently the Deputy-Director of the COIN Center and recently gave a series of COIN lectures in Canada.
Reached via telephone upon his return to Ft. Leavenworth, Malevich told The Dominion that the biggest assets that he brings to the COIN Center are his scholarly background in asymmetric warfare and first-hand COIN experience in Afghanistan. Prior to joining the COIN Center, Malevich was a member of the Strategic Advisory Team-a team of military advisors set up by General Hillier to provide direct advice to top Afghan cabinet ministers. He was later seconded to the Afghan Independent Electoral Commission, where Malevich says he "came up with their operations plan and their security plan" for the presidential elections scheduled for August 2009.
"When I speak, these guys give me a pretty good respect and they're pretty grateful to have this help...they're very grateful to have Canadians among them and grateful for the contribution we've made in Afghanistan," said Lt. Col. Malevich of his colleagues at the COIN Center. Col. Roper, who says he's been to Canada "four or five times" to discuss COIN, told The Dominion that by having Malevich "institutionally embedded" in the COIN Center, "The Canadian Army benefits from having a full-time person working in here with full access to everything we've got and recognizing [when] he stumbles upon something here that, hey, he knows somebody in the Canadian Army that might benefit from that; he can very quickly share that information."
Invoking Gen. Charles Krulak, the US marine who coined the term "Three Block War" and who, in 1997, predicted the importance of "transnational movements" to 21st-century warfare, Roper said that today, "what we're looking at are transnational insurgencies."
Partnering as closely as possible with key allies like Canada is seen as crucial to conducting what some COIN experts call "global counterinsurgency." According to Malevich, one of his key roles is "bringing [US COIN] expertise up to Canada and bringing it into the Canadian military culture." Such a level of COIN integration has never been undertaken before, and it is difficult to foresee the possible implications for Canada's military culture, which inevitably spills over into broader society. "The better the people understand the pros and cons and the risks [of COIN], the more informed a decision they can make," says Roper.
In her introduction to the University of Michigan Press edition of the US Army Stability Operations Manual, Janine Davidson acknowledges that, "[There] are those who see the new doctrine as another dangerous step on the slippery slope toward imperialism."
Davidson dismisses those critics, writing that they "seriously misunderstand the purpose and role of military doctrine"-because the military doesn't set the policies that send them to occupy other countries.
On the other hand, influential COIN advocates such as Eliot Cohen have argued that the US needs to establish an "Imperial Army," the likes of which Canada is increasingly becoming appended to.
The Enduring Value of NORAD
General Victor E. Renuart Jr. USAF
Reprinted with permission from the 3rd Quater 2009 issue of Joint Force Quarterly.
The armed forces of Canada and the United States are completing a historic commemoration. Just over 50 years ago, our two nations signed the Agreement for the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), which established a bi-national command to provide air defense against the Soviet bomber threat. For five decades now, we have ensured the aerospace sovereignty of North America. Since September 11, 2001, NORAD (now the North American Aerospace Defense Command) has refocused its mission to include defense against surprise and internal threats. With this new threat in mind, in May 2006, Canada and the United States added maritime warning as a NORAD mission.
Recognizing the broader aspects of the 21st-century security environment, our two nations are now assessing opportunities for enhanced military cooperation among the commands charged with defending our home territory. Our leaders have repeatedly underscored the importance of international cooperation for homeland defense and security. In the spirit of a neighborhood watch, Canada and the United States have a great opportunity to create a set of new relationships that build on the strengths and benefit from the challenges of earlier times. By changing the lenses we have looked through for generations, we can develop processes and procedures to reduce the geographical, inter-domain, interagency, and intermodal gaps that currently exist in our defenses.
There are a number of ways to address these new relationships. Whichever approach we take must acknowledge all members as equal partners. That approach must also respond to changing conditions and adapt to the possibility of new participants. In that light, this article offers a retrospective on NORAD, looks at the relevance of NORAD today, and suggests an outline of considerations for future enhanced military cooperation between Canada and the United States in the defense of our neighborhood. These considerations, now in parallel with a Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS)-directed study, are not presented as all-inclusive or exhaustive, but rather reflective of the potential that exists.
History of Cooperation
The modern story of defense cooperation between our two countries extends back to World War II, when the threat of German and Japanese incursion into Alaska and the Maritime Provinces brought the United States and Canada together. In August 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Mackenzie King issued the Ogdensburg Declaration, which voiced the concept of joint defense and sanctioned the establishment of the Canada-U.S. (CANUS) Permanent Joint Board on Defense. At the war's end, collective security for continental defense remained of vital interest to both nations, and in February 1947, Ottawa and Washington announced the principles of future military cooperation, including consultation on air defense issues.
The growth of Soviet long-range aviation in the late 1940s, and the test of a Soviet atomic bomb in 1949, brought Canada and the United States under direct threat of nuclear attack for the first time, encouraging even closer cooperation in continental defense.
In the early 1950s, the two nations agreed to construct a series of radar stations across North America. The first undertaking was the Pinetree Line in 1954. By 1957, a Mid-Canada Line or McGill Fence was completed about 300 miles north of the Pinetree Line. The third and most challenging joint air defense undertaking of the 1950s was the construction of the Distant Early Warning Line (DEW Line), a transcontinental line along the 70th parallel, about 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
This three-tiered radar defense line now gave our population centers 2 to 3 hours warning of bomber attack, sufficient time to identify and intercept enemy aircraft. Should the enemy have attempted to circumvent the three lines and approach from either the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans, they would have encountered offshore barriers composed of airborne early warning aircraft, Navy picket ships, and offshore radar platforms called Texas Towers.
Since the operation of this network required daily coordination on tactical matters and the merging of plans to a greater extent than ever before, the logical next step was to establish a formal structure for operational control. To that purpose, in 1951, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) placed a liaison group at Ent Air Force Base, Colorado, home of the U.S. Air Force Air Defense Command, to carry out planning. Soon it became obvious that the most effective air defense required common operating procedures, deployment according to a single plan, means for quick decision, and authoritative control of all weapons and actions.
In the spring of 1954, the RCAF Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal C. Roy Slemon, and the head of the Air Force Air Defense Command, General Benjamin Chidlaw, met to discuss the best means for providing defense for North America. On the basis of these talks, their staffs prepared a plan that called for a combined air defense organization under a single commander. In late 1954, General Earle E. Partridge, commander of the newly formed joint U.S. Command, Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), directed another detailed study of North American defense issues. The results again pointed to the establishment of a combined air defense organization.
On August 1, 1957, the United States and Canada announced the establishment of an integrated command that would centralize operational control of all air defenses. On September 12, NORAD operations commenced at Ent Air Force Base, with General Partridge named as commander and Air Marshal Slemon as his deputy. Eight months later, on May 12, 1958, the two nations signed the formal NORAD Agreement. NORAD now commanded both Canadian and U.S. air defense forces, which included Canadian Air Command, Air Force Air Defense Command, Army Air Defense Command, and Naval Forces CONAD/NORAD.
The next several years saw a dramatic growth in air defenses. By the early 1960s, a quarter of a million Canadian and U.S. personnel operated a multilayered and interlocking complex of sites, control centers, manned interceptors, and surface-to-air missiles.
During the 1960s and 1970s, the character of the threat changed as the Soviet Union focused on deploying intercontinental and sea-launched ballistic missiles, while developing an anti-satellite capability. In response, the command developed a space surveillance and missile warning system to provide worldwide space detection and tracking and to catalogue objects and activity in space. When these systems became operational during the early 1960s, they came under the control of the NORAD commander. Over the years, the evolving threat broadened the NORAD mission to include tactical warning and assessment of a possible air, missile, or space attack on North America. The 1975 NORAD Agreement acknowledged these extensions of the command's mission, and the 1981 agreement changed the command's name from the North American Air Defense Command to the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Economic moves begun in 1963 caused the reduction of aircraft fighter-interceptor forces and closed portions of the land-based radar network; however, there were improvements that helped reduce the vulnerability to intercontinental ballistic missile attacks. Two hardened underground combat operations centers were set up: one inside Cheyenne Mountain near Colorado Springs, and an alternate center at North Bay, Ontario. These facilities became the nerve centers for integration and assessment of data gained from the broad network of early warning systems being established.
In May 1979, Congress directed the U.S. Air Force to prepare a blueprint for modernization of air defenses and cost-sharing discussions between Canada and the United States. The main features of the modernization programs that followed were the replacement of the DEW Line radar system with an improved Arctic radar line called the North Warning System; the deployment of Over-the-Horizon Backscatter radar; the assignment of F-15s, F-16s, and CF-18s to NORAD; and the greater use of Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft.
The end of the Cold War brought major changes for the command. NORAD again reassessed its mission and refocused its resources to meet emerging threats. In 1989, Congress assigned the Department of Defense a role in the U.S. counterdrug effort. With Canadian ratification of the counterdrug mission, NORAD operations expanded to include tracking small-engine aircraft, then the primary means of smuggling drugs. The command also developed procedures to coordinate its counterdrug activities with Canadian and U.S. law enforcement agencies. These efforts demanded the utmost diplomacy as the command delved into delicate civil and diplomatic areas not traditionally included in day-to-day military affairs.
On May 12, 1996, the renewal of the NORAD Agreement prepared the command for the next century with a commitment to maintain NORAD as the cornerstone of CANUS post-Cold War national security. Five years later, in 2001, NORAD senior leaders were deep into assessment of how the command should meet future challenges when the playing field suddenly changed. Responding to the tragedy of September 11, NORAD has increased its visibility and significance as a partner in the national security of Canada and the United States. One major example is the continuous fulfillment of responsibilities associated with Operation Noble Eagle, which include:
Looking back over the past 50 years, it is evident that NORAD has served as a credible deterrent to any aggression that might threaten North America, continually adapting to the changing strategic environment. Advances in technology have reduced the requirement for large numbers of personnel and air defense resources, but NORAD today remains the most formidable aerospace defense capability in the world. Strategic Environment Since the turn of the century, the overall threat to the North American continent from the aerospace, space, land, sea, and cyber domains has greatly increased, and the proliferation of weapons of mass disruption and their delivery systems to state and non state actors has emerged as a major security challenge. This evolution has introduced asymmetric threats that have the potential to affect the decision making processes associated with the defense of North America. Additionally, the proliferation of cruise missile technology, unmanned aerial systems, and nonmilitary air activity associated with drug trafficking and other illegal activities is of continuing concern.
Domestically, the overall volume of daily air traffic flowing to, from, and within our airspace will continue to expand and dictate an even higher degree of coordination between our national airspace surveillance and control systems and military components. Additionally, cyber security and the wide range of threats to our continent coming from the seas and major waterways will pose significant challenges. Finally, our vast and open borders, including a more accessible Arctic, will require both a closer level of cooperation between land and maritime forces and facilitation of military-to-military defense support to civil authorities.
Back to the Future
In response to this dynamic environment, there are three commands immediately responsible for the defense of North America: NORAD, U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), and Canada Command (Canada COM). The CANUS Basic Defense Document requires the commanders to establish close relationships with each other and with supporting agencies, ensuring a timely and coordinated response to threats to Canada and the United States. With that in mind, the CDS and CJCS requested the commanders of NORAD, USNORTHCOM, and Canada COM to develop options for the way ahead in their relationship. Since that meeting in July 2006, the three commands have been working closely to study and improve their understanding of each other's roles, missions, and responsibilities with the aim of eliminating gaps and redundancies, while strengthening daily military cooperation in the defense of North America. As a previous deputy commander observed, the Tri-Command Study promises to be one of the most important things we do in the next 10 years.
While respecting national sovereignty, the study focuses on strengthening the Canadian and U.S. Armed Forces' ability to:
In examining future options for increasing military cooperation in defense of North America, a number of assumptions come into play:
Where This Is Leading?
Even while the study progresses, the real-time demands of the global geopolitical structure require constant preparedness. One of the vital concepts of this defense is anticipating the unexpected. In NORAD, several key elements will contribute to our readiness.
Our gap-filler program will allow us to see air activity within our borders to a much greater degree—from border to border and down to the ground. In addition, command and control (C2) upgrades, advances in technology, and new organizational structures will greatly improve our defenses and extend our decision time against cruise missiles and other unmanned air-breathing vehicles.
In the maritime domain, NORAD will provide binational warning, benefiting from the maritime domain awareness capabilities of both nations. This cooperation among multiple maritime agencies will provide a great deal of synergy in the watch over approaches to North America. An additional strong point in this effort is the fact that we view maritime activity through a binational, rather than a national, lens.
In the political arena, the NORAD Agreement expresses a shared statement of the two nations' interdependencies and vulnerabilities. It acknowledges geographic, economic, cultural, defense, and security issues while giving an equal voice to both partners. The agreement underscores respect for sovereignty and continues to build public trust and confidence in NORAD. Fundamentally, it provides a shared means for both nations to agree on military action in defense of Canada, Alaska, the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Militarily, NORAD enjoys a number of advantages. In the area of C2, each nation has an equal voice in decisions affecting NORAD missions. This unity of effort strengthens our protection from direct military attack and provides expanded surveillance and control over North American airspace and warning in the maritime domain. Through continuous improvement of our C2 systems, we have tightened the seams around domains, borders, and agencies. Generally speaking, either nation can exercise C2 of both nations' assets assigned to NORAD.
The way we do business also provides valuable training and operational experience, not only for NORAD missions, but also in United Nations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and other multinational operations. Furthermore, collocation of NORAD and USNORTHCOM staffs has gone far to facilitate trust, familiarity, and confidence by promoting U.S. understanding of Canadian issues and vice versa. This familiarity has done a great deal to shorten response time to crises.
As far as our bread and butter is concerned, aerospace warning and aerospace control continually provide space surveillance and missile warning to both governments. We detect, track, and report every missile launch in the world, assessing the threat to North America. Our defensive forces respond to all Russian long-range aviation approaching our borders and secure the investment in the North Warning System and coastal radars in Canada. In this regard, we continually improve the interoperable C2 mentioned above and shorten response time.
Our new mission of maritime warning supports a formal nation-to-nation umbrella for sharing maritime information and provides authority to explore and identify what information both nations need to share among military and nonmilitary agencies and departments. This mission highlights the requirement for a common user-defined operating picture and supports the ability to use established intelligence-sharing protocols existing in the aerospace domain, once again shortening the decision cycle.
It has been over 63 years since the end of World War II and the emergence of the Soviet threat. Throughout five of those decades, the North American Air Defense Command has met the threat, adapted to changing conditions, and provided a shield over North America. The command's flexibility and adaptability have been significant in its continuing defense of our nations. Today, the lines between security and defense have become blurred, and it is time to rethink the division of labor that can lead to stovepipes within governments and militaries. Eliminating seams or gaps among missions, domains, and operational functions is essential to success. As the first step toward that goal, Canada and the United States should concentrate on the best information-sharing practices among all departments and agencies.
To further enhance military cooperation, the command must continue to leverage lessons learned from its 50 years of successful operations. The concept of bilateral military cooperation has served us well, remains as relevant today as it was during the Cold War, and provides a strong foundation for the defense of North America for the next 50 years. As we investigate how our nations' armed forces can best work together, there is an excellent opportunity to consider expansion of both bi-national and bilateral cooperation to the areas of multi-domain awareness, assistance to civil authority, and information operations. Processes and procedures that allow the Canadian and U.S. military to be more scalable, flexible, and responsive will also improve our effectiveness.
In light of recent events around the globe, we know we can never let our guard down. The citizens of our two nations expect and deserve to rest easy in a troubled world. Our solemn commitment at the end of the day is to continually strengthen the defense and security of Canada and the United States, such that our mutual societies continue to prosper in a North American community that is free and safe.
Last Reviewed: May 18, 2012