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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Planning without guidance : Canadian defense policy and planning, 1993-2004 Hartfiel, Robert Michael


The decade between the release of Canada’s 1994 Defence White Paper and its 2005 International Policy Statement was a period of crisis within the Canadian Forces (CF). The CF’s operational tempo increased significantly even as the defence budget was cut by a quarter. Defence issues were perceived to have very little profile in Ottawa., and military officers felt their concerns were not being heard. Despite rapid changes in the global security environment, dramatic budget cuts and frequent deployments, the CF was given no overarching policy direction from government. However, as one officer remarked, the CF gradually learned to survive in the absence of political guidance -- Indeed, “we have provided our own guidance.” This paper will examine how the CF adapted in the absence of strategic direction from government. It will focus particular attention on the adoption of capabilities-based planning as a decisional methodology for resource allocation and mitigating risk. This paper is based on a series of interviews with senior military officers and civilian officials at the Department of National Defence (conducted by Dr. Cohn Campbell in 2004 and 2005), and a reading of the relevant literature on Canadian defence policy and strategic planning.

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