MANOEUVRE WARFARE: Applying the basics to Canada's current role in Iraq

 (Volume 24-01)

By Colonel (ret'd) Pat Stogran

Regular readers of “The Armchair Colonel” will recall I offered a definition of military operational strategy (“the art of advantage”) and last month I introduced the concept of manoeuvre warfare (MW), which I intend to expand on to use as a construct to consider coalition operations in the Middle East.

Manoeuvre in the context of strategy means the adroit and clever management of affairs in order to shatter the moral cohesion (in the psychological not the ethical sense of the word) of an enemy rather than the detailed destruction of their physical capabilities.

Before I can delve into some of the tenets and techniques in the application of MW as it might pertain to Canada’s involvement in Iraq today, I will have a look at the fundamental mechanisms of the concept.

For a very brief period of time, back in 2006 when I was uniform, I was seconded to the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC). It was my first occasion to work for a senior public servant, as the president was an ex-director general from RCMP headquarters. It was the second most frustrating job in my life, next to being the Veterans Ombudsman. One of the responsibilities assigned to me, a “gruntasaurus-rex” incognito as a civilian executive, was the formulation of a business development plan. I really seized on the task as an opportunity to learn a little something about management at senior levels in the business world. I interviewed all the employees and met with clients, management consultants and professors at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University, and reoriented my private study from warfare to business systems.

After extensive research and consideration, I identified niche markets and capabilities, systems and an organizational structure that, I thought, would wean the Centre off the teat of government handouts, which we had been warned were going to be terminated. The president didn’t like the outcome of my study, discarding my draft report out of hand, and took grave exception to my assessment that the projects the Centre were pursuing was “busy work” and would do little to make the PPC financially independent of government. Professionally, I ended up following in the footsteps of the other dinosaurs, as that was also the first of two times in my life that I was fired, the other one being the ombudsman job.

I guess the PPC never did find a niche that would sustain it without government funding, as it ended up closing down operations. That’s what busy work does. It keeps the troops busy but contributes little to winning the war. In the private sector, war is a metaphor for the bottom line; but it isn’t in the military where busy work costs lives. That is not to suggest that lives are not lost and ruined by military operations that are based on carefully calculated effects-focused effort, but the latter approach to business stands a much better chance of achieving a substantive and enduring operational end-state. MW is what I consider to be the antithesis of busy work, fighting for fighting sake alone, which is why I very quickly became a disciple.

In the Maneuver Warfare Handbook, William Lind suggests there are three “filters” that are fundamental to the manoeuvre approach: mission-type orders, the focus of effort, and surfaces-and-gaps. Let me approach these in reverse order. Surfaces-and-gaps (SG) is a label for exploiting enemy vulnerabilities rather than engaging where they are strong. Back in my mechanized operations days, SG was achieved simply by pinning down pockets of opposition and bypassing them to attack the enemy in depth. Such shock action was a key ingredient for the early and spectacular successes of the German blitzkrieg in the Second World War. The application of surface-and-gaps on the mechanized battlefield is the very manifestation of Sun Tzu’s warning not to besiege walled cities. If Sun Tzu’s principle of avoiding what is strong and striking what is weak could stand the test of time and be relevant in Industrial Age warfare, how can it not be now in the global insurgency we are facing in fourth generation warfare?

Another MW filter is the focus of efforts: an interpretation of the Schwerpunkt of German Army doctrine of focusing combat power on key enemy vulnerabilities in order to be decisive, and the practical application of the principles of war of concentration of force and economy of effort. In MW terms, the concept is represented as the point of main effort (ME) and supporting efforts (SE). The aim is to concentrate combat power against high value targets (HVT) and high payoff targets (HPT). In manoeuvre warfare, HVTs are objectives that can be expected to seriously degrade the enemy’s capability to interfere with our operations; HPTs are objectives that will contribute significantly to the success of our operations.

Operations are often broken down into phases in order to concentrate sufficient combat power sequentially against HPTs identified in the planning. Such efforts are nested hierarchically, in that the ME of a subordinate unit should be a SE to the higher formation’s ME. In my instructor days at the Land Warfare Centre in Australia, I used to assert that combat power not apportioned to a main or supporting effort is often wasted effort.

Lind’s third filter, mission-type orders (MTO), is a protocol for tasking subordinates that seeks to optimize the quality of decision-making in terms of timeliness and impact. It compels superior commanders to articulate what the goal of their mission is in terms of what they want to have happen to the enemy and how that contributes to the higher formations plan, as well as to identify what I call the “defeat mechanism” (Volume 23 Issue 9). A fundamental rule of MTOs is that higher commanders must inform their subordinate commanders what they are expected to achieve and why, but not how they should do it. This is a very important feature of MW.

Another renowned manoeuvre theorist, Richard Simpkin, in his epic Race to the Swift: Thoughts on 21st Century Warfare, coined the term “directive control” to describe this filter of Lind’s. The idea is that operations should be launched with a minimum of instruction, in what he considers more characteristic of military “directives” than the level of detail that is normally included in operations orders. In doing so there will undoubtedly be gaps in the master plan, so subordinate commanders are expected to use their intellect and initiative in order to fill those in “on the march.” This requires well-trained, confident and empowered subordinate commanders. In my opinion, controlling operations by timely directives rather than time-consuming, detailed orders is the essence of a leadership-biased organization.

Thus far I have been considering MW at the tactical level, by interpreting MEs, SEs, HVTs and HPTs in terms of combat power. Strategically, one must consider the instruments of national power; namely diplomacy, information, economics, and defence. Clearly, analyzing the battlefield in terms of the MW filters is a complex process, and more of an art than science. At the strategic level it is even more difficult because the environment is often much more ambiguous and vague. For that reason the commander-in-chief must remain flexible, another principle of war, and reassign main and supporting efforts as the operational situation develops. MW doctrine fosters agility, the capability of an organization to act and react very quickly in order to, once again, keep focused on the defeat of the enemy.

At this point in my columns you have been introduced to many of the tools that would help us to assess the intervention in the Middle East critically and objectively. No doubt everyone is well aware of Canada’s military involvement in Iraq. Would you consider military operations to be our main or supporting effort in the defeat of Daesh and ISIL? What would you consider the coalition’s main and supporting efforts? What is the defeat mechanism sought to eradicate the threat of radical Islamic criminals? How well do you think we are doing?

I look forward to hearing your opinions on this issue and each month I offer a copy of my book, Rude Awakening: The Government’s Secret War Against Canada’s Veterans, to the contribution that I find most thought-provoking.

RESIDENT PERCEPTIONS: Why being cognizant of resident perceptions in a conflict is key for third parties

By Pat Stogran

Last month I introduced some of my ideas about strategy in the context of combat and war versus how the term might apply in the business world. I embrace the definition of strategy as the art of advantage. In the business world, a strategy, I submit, engages the skills of an organization and is dependent on good fortune in accomplishing simultaneous and/or successive objectives that are often mutually dependent. While such applies to military organizations also, strategy in the context of conflict hinges on interdependent antagonistic decision-making. In other words, in combat a commander’s strategy seeks to optimize the quality of one’s decisions in terms of timeliness and impact while denying or degrading the same capability of the enemy.

A very important axiom in the theory of strategy in war is that what you don’t know can and probably will hurt you. Sun Tzu introduces a useful concept to characterize that axiom in what has been translated as “orthodox” and “extraordinary” forces. I use the term “force” in the a philosophical sense as in the “power of persuasion,” although there often must be a physical component to that philosophical force in order to achieve the desired effect.

Sun Tzu tells us that the general should seek to “engage” the enemy with the “orthodox force,” which is what the enemy would expect to be engaged by, and inflict defeat upon the enemy via the unexpected extraordinary force. In the example I gave last month of the strategy I employed in training at the tactical level, the fire support base for my platoon attack became the orthodox force, while my assault force infiltrating onto the enemy’s position was the extraordinary force. My enemies were effectively “defeated” the moment they were convinced that my fire support base was my main effort and focused their combat power against it. That opened the door, so to speak, for my assault force to gain lodgment on the objective virtually unopposed.

In war, like so many other aspects of life, perceptions are reality, and the masterful general will seek to shape the enemy’s perceptions, which can only be accomplished when the general truly understands the enemy. I was recently contacted by an irate reader who objected to me referencing a State of Palestine in my discussion a couple of months ago on the Balfour Agreement and the expressed intention of the British to establish the State of Israel. Indeed, the United Nations did not exist back in the day to offer any formal recognition of the sovereignty of the region, and the imperialist powers were busy hacking up and apportioning statehood to the various areas despite the ethnic, tribal and religious divisions that already existed in the region with self-serving glee. So I was in fact incorrect to refer to the Palestinian homeland as a state.

Truth be told, as I write this I am hesitant to refer to the region as the Palestinian homeland for fear of causing further angst amongst readers because I am not familiar with the migrations that have taken place over the preceding millennia. And please don’t interpret that as trivializing the issue. When I was a United Nations military observer during the war in Bosnia I heard the territorial disputes between the warring parties going back hundreds of years when they were contextualizing some of the aggression that they committed against one another. I think that my personal feelings reflect those of many if not most Canadians. My relatives emigrated from Ukraine to create a better life for their family. Although I am proud of my Ukrainian heritage and concerned about the crisis today in that country, I share my grandparents’ commitment to the future of my children. Notwithstanding, I learned to treat the opinions and perceptions of the warring parties with sincere deference.

With the irritated reader I acknowledged how I had erred regarding Palestinian statehood at the turn of the last century, but blew it off as inconsequential to the point I had tried to make. The reader would have none of it and demanded that I make a disclaimer to that effect in my column. I was not surprised by the reaction and saw it as an opportunity to learn, so I sent the reader a list of questions regarding the situation in the Middle East. I learned a lot in the email exchange that ensued. Part of that learning process was to pose the same questions to a Palestinian gentleman I had met following a presentation I once made at the University of Ottawa. Needless to say, the opinions this gentleman offered in response to my questions were different from those I received from my disgruntled reader.

I did not seek to confirm this juxtaposition of interpretation in order to draw my own conclusion, but rather to highlight another gravely important consideration that must be made before attempting to intervene in a regional conflict: Warring parties are very clearly entrenched in their own interpretation of the roots of their conflict; indeed, they are prepared to die for it! Hence, any foreign third party to a regional conflict had better be fully cognizant and respectful of the resident perceptions in order to avoid becoming part of the problem.

There are so many competing ambitions and intentions in the region that I am loath to open that Pandora’s Box. I am not sure the average Canadian has ever taken stock of the complexity of the situation we have thrown our troops in to combat ISIL so I will open that box but a sliver, but I am quick to remind readers that I am not passing judgement in any way, shape or form. Clearly Israel’s right to exist is a point of contention in the region — enough said about that. Then there are the other sovereign states in the immediate conflict area and the deadly grudges they hold against one another or the detentes and alliances they embrace. Of course, we are all well aware of the religious rivalries between the Shia and Sunni, Muslims and indigenous Christians, and between the various sects of their respective militias.

On top of that there are the ambitions and interests of the superpowers — U.S., Russia, China. Clearly Russia has a key concern that their superpower rivals do not, in that this conflict is virtually on its front porch. Sandwiched between Russia and the conflict area is the Caucasus, where ISIL is allegedly fueling an insurgency, particularly in the north. And then, of course, Armenians hold a particular grudge against Turkey, not to mention Azerbaijan, who in turn is in a conflict with the Kurds with whom Canadian troops are fighting ISIL. Saudi Arabia and Iran are avowed enemies, and their client militias — considered by some as terrorist organizations — further complicate the crisis, not to mention the various rebel groups, some of which have been labelled as “moderates.”

Sound complicated? It is, even though my description is grossly over-simplified. In trying to better understand the situation I have constructed a 20 x 20 matrix trying to capture the various rivalries endemic to the region that could impact on our intervention, the accuracy of which I cannot vouch for so I do not offer it here. Given that alliances and detentes can be fleeting as a matter of convenience and that, as Sun Tzu also told us, deception is fundamental to all warfare, the general must always be suspect of what is “understood” about any conflict. That is why I am dumbfounded when Canadians, be they mainstream citizens or elected officials, suggest that joining the fight against ISIL is really going to make Canadians safer at home and abroad, especially when some of the sovereign nations that we are allied with, at least on the surface, are not only not antagonistic towards ISIL but may secretly be empathetic with them.

Now for the “So what?” Is what we are doing in the region going to achieve the aim? More importantly, are there any measures or factors we can or should be considering that have not as yet entered our consciousness? What are the orthodox forces at play in the conflict, and what extraordinary forces might there be available to us? I am not holding an ace up my sleeve that I intend to spring upon you as the ordained solution to our problem. To the contrary, in fact, given the interdependent antagonistic decision-making nature of strategy in conflict, a course of action that might work today can become completely irrelevant tomorrow so it behoves us to keep an open mind and adapt to new or unforeseen realities.

In this column I am trying to spur a structured discussion without leaping to any spurious conclusions, so I am really interested to hear the opinions of Esprit de Corps readers. The offer stands of a copy of my book Rude Awakening: The Government’s Secret War Against Canada’s Veterans going out to anybody who offers thought-provoking commentary even if I can’t use it verbatim in an article. Until next month, I look forward to hearing from you!

Defeating the enemy: what will the defeat of isil bring to the people of canada?

By Colonel (ret'd) Pat Stogran

I remember as a junior staff learner at First Canadian Mechanized Brigade Headquarters, our brigade major, one then-Major John Joly, used to taunt me out of the blue with provocations such as “What are the principles of the defence?” or “Why are things seen?” — a spur-of-the-moment challenge for me to come up with the principles of camouflage. Now, the reader must understand how extremely elementary those concepts are and, even more so, how out of place they were as a topic of conversation in a formation headquarters. It was a compelling lesson for me very early in my career, though, that professional military officers at every level must remain brilliant at the basics of our craft as we work our way up the ranks.

Many years later, when I was a tactics instructor at the Australian Army’s Land Warfare Centre, I perpetuated Joly’s legacy, challenging my young charges to recite doctrine that they would have been taught much earlier in their careers. Much like a much-younger Pat Stogran, my students would hem and haw and eventually come up with a reasonable answer, or a facsimile thereof, and pat themselves on the back. I would counter them by asking how much confidence they would have in the medical officer (MO) if they were presented with such a tentative diagnosis for an itch in a private area. Could be heat rash, or “just” an insect bite. Poison Ivy? An STD? AIDS?!

Never having been someone who is a slave to convention, another challenge I would pose when the instructional moment offered itself — particularly on higher level pre-command seminars — was to explain what the verb “to defeat” means as a military task. That always made for very stimulating discussion, especially when we would drill down from broad academic definitions to some pragmatic operational analyses. When senior officers presented to me, the seminar facilitator, a briefing for the plan of a military operation that was doctrinally faultless, I would sometimes deviate from the instructor notes and pose the question, “What exactly do you envision as the ‘defeat mechanism’ for your plan?” More often than not, I would meet with some waffling and bafflegab that might have made sense, but most certainly would not inspire any more confidence in a discerning inquirer than my metaphoric MO would for a person suffering from jock itch.

At its most fundamental level, “defeating” an antagonist militarily means imposing your will upon them. I submit that, on the surface, our victory in the Second World War could reinforce what I consider to be a popular misconception that “defeating an enemy in war” means destroying them physically and morally into capitulation. The notion that the Allies won that industrial war and defeated the Nazis by mass destruction alone ignores how the Marshall Plan following the Second World War had a different lasting effect than the annexation of the Alsace-Lorraine industrial region of Germany did after the First World War.

I don’t mean to suggest that the officers in the Australian Defence Force are in any way inferior to ours in the Canadian Armed Forces. I am tired of hearing senior management in the Canadian Armed Forces insisting that we will not be able to defeat ISIL unless we commit more “boots on the ground.” It is nonsensical to infer the obverse, that more troops in the fight in Iraq will enable us to destroy the enemy.

That fallacy ignores the recent history in Afghanistan, in which we had plenty of boots on the ground and over 150 pairs in caskets. It is also disconnected from the reality of the threat that ISIL poses to Canada and Canadians and how the physical face of that threat morphs. Yesterday it was Taliban and al-Qaeda, today it is ISIL. Who will it be tomorrow?

When I was a young officer learning how to fight the Soviet hoards, it was all about destruction. Our doctrine and training were not constrained by media awareness, human rights, nation-building, and the like. The military was all about the application of violence, full stop. Hell, so-called peacekeeping was viewed as a tedious distraction from our mandate of high intensity conflict, and even the laws of armed conflict didn’t enter into my professional consciousness until much later in my career. I hasten to add that it was via my private study that I learned of the moral component of war-fighting. It was not introduced as doctrine or a learning objective on any military course of the day. We merely assumed that what we were doing was lawful and moral.

That may have been the way we fought a Cold War battle, but in retrospect we must not ignore, as I explained in an earlier article, the fact that NATO emerged victorious from that war without so much as a clash of arms between the primary belligerents. In battle, tactical-level objectives can sometimes, perhaps always, be interpreted as nothing other than to destroy, but at the strategic and operational levels the concept of defeat is much more complex, uncertain, and ambiguous. Regular readers of Esprit
will know that one of my central themes in these columns is that warfare has changed, war is raging today, and Canada is in the middle of it whether we care to admit it or not.

Canada is one of 67 members of the “Global Coalition against Daesh,” formed in September 2014, and is unique in its membership, scope and commitment. Together, the Global Coalition is committed to degrading and ultimately defeating Daesh. But in order to impose our will on ISIL we first have to determine what it is that we want for Canada and Canadians. So my question for readers is the following: What will the defeat of ISIL bring to the people of Canada? In other words, what is it, exactly, that we “will upon ISIL,” which will impact on the lives of Canadian citizens? This is a seemingly esoteric — obscure, even — question, but such is the nature of the strategic environment.

Once again, the person who offers the most compelling commentary will receive a copy of my latest book (my first and only book thus far, actually): Rude Awakening: The Government’s Secret War Against Canada’s Veterans.



BY Colonel (ret'd) Pat Stogran

With our Understanding of the strategic-operational-tactical framework of war and the acknowledgement that, at the tactical level, the high intensity combat operations in Iraq to which our troops are contributing training, advice and assistance looks a hell of a lot like war, the question begs: Are we at war? Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance said, “Canada is not at a declared state of war,” although he qualified that assertion by saying we are “a lawful party to an armed conflict against a non-state actor.” Technically and legally, in a spurious sort of way, he is correct: We are not “at war.”I say spuriousway because it is obvious that a nation does not have to declare war in order to go overseas to kill people. However, is a nation at war in this day and age even though we have not so declared but, for the most part, are having the killing done by an agent on our behalf?

Under the Westminster style of government, the power to formally declare war evolved from the prerogative of the Crown to do so on the recommendation of the duly elected Cabinet. The Royal Prerogative was vested to the Government of Canada in the Statute of Westminster in 1931, which effectively made Canada and other countries in the Dominion sovereign, independent nations. Canada subsequently exercised its authority to declare war as we entered the Second World War, although it was arguably more of a symbolic gesture that masked our tradition of subservience to the monarchy. If we set aside the lingering redundancy of the monarchy as it pertains to Canada for the moment, to “declare war” in our bastardized-Westminster-come-ad-hoc-presidentialized system of government, the prime minister needs only to decree it so. In other words, the only legal requirement for Canada to be “at war” in Iraq or anywhere else is for Cabinet to cut an Order-in-Council to that effect and post it in TheGazette.

Notwithstanding our reticence to declare war formally, the international community has adopted protocols and conditions that justify the use of armed force by one nation against another. Philosophers have batted around the concept of the “Just War” for a millennia, the arguments of which are reflected in the United Nations Charter and form the basis of what I used to understand as the laws of armed conflict (LOAC). The LOAC, commonly known as International Humanitarian Law, have been an attempt over the last century to constrain the use of violence during international armed conflict. The conventions that have been adopted call for the protection of non-combatants and otherwise incapacitated combatants, compel military forces to restrict their attacks to legitimate military targets and to employ a level of force that is sufficient to achieve the desired military effect with minimal collateral damage. Chapter Seven of the UN Charter acknowledges the right of nations to use lethal military force against another in self-defence, although it encourages the use of lesser means of coercion. To the best of my knowledge, none of those conventions compel a nation to formally declare war before launching military operations against another sovereign nation.

The Government of Canada has not exercised the prerogative to declare war since WWII but, then again, neither has anybody else despite some fairly major conflicts: not the Americans in the so-called Vietnam War, the United Kingdom in the so-called Falklands War, nor any of the coalition partners that participated in the so-called Korean War, the Gulf War (neither the first or second one), nor the war in Afghanistan. The United States and like-minded nations have further blurred the lines by unconventional declarations of war on objects and a relatively vague, ill-defined concept, having declared war on drugs and later against terrorism. In Canada, although we were the first nation to join the United States when they invaded Afghanistan in retaliation for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, we conveniently avoided the dreaded term war by choosing instead to reference our use of force as a campaign against terrorism.

Prior to our non-war in Afghanistan that cost the lives of well over 200 people KIA and consequential suicides, the so-called Cold War raged around the world for decades even though there was nary a clash of force between the main warring parties: the superpowers of the United States of America and the Soviet Union under the guises of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Warsaw Pact respectively. Another apparent aberration of the concept of war, the main antagonists of the Cold War did, however, taunt each other pseudo-anonymously on the fringes by instigating proxy bush wars and insurrections. And while the member nations of NATO and the Warsaw Pact were preoccupied by equipping and training for massive scale combat operations under the threat of weapons of mass destruction, the conventional forces of the lesser powers were heavily engaged in trying to manage some of those conflicts on the periphery and mitigate their fallout. These became known as peacekeeping, peace support operations or operations other than war, but not “war.”

In the shadows of NATO’s apparent victory in that ostensible war, the Cold one, noted scholars were anticipating that the face of war was changing. As the Cold War unravelled and peace appeared to be breaking out all over the place, Samuel P. Huntington warned of an impending “clash of civilizations,” the rise of conflict based on culture, ethnicity and religion. A similar theory was offered by Israeli historian and military theorist Martin Van Crevald in his book The Transformation of War, which was pivotal in my own military metamorphosis as a warrior-scholar. As the title implies, Van Crevald prognosticated the emergence of Huntingtonian-like threats and so-called low-intensity conflicts that differed hugely from the conventional interpretation of war and that would pose a huge challenge for conventional forces to deal with. The details of these and other such hypotheses have been the subject of heated debate amongst military philosophers and pundits, but as a fan of Bruce Lee I tend to follow his martial art canon and “absorb what is useful” from all those analyses of contemporary conflict.

As simple soldier I liked the operationally relevant picture the theory of USMC University professor William Lind painted, that of fourth generation warfare. It put an edge on these theories that really resonated with me as a war-fighter. In short, Lind talks about post-Westphalian warfare that has evolved through four generations. In the first generation, warfare manifested itself in the form of masses of soldiers armed with musket, ball and bayonet. To generate maximum combat power at decisive points, armies marched around en mass in rank and file. As the Industrial Age matured and weaponry became much more lethal and far reaching, troops had to seek protection in the terrain to survive. This led to the trench warfare that emerged during the American Civil War and characterized World War One, which Lind coined as the second generation. The advent of the tank broke the stalemate of WWI and later became the theme of the Second World War, which has dominated military thinking ever since and defined Lind’s third generation of warfare. In the fourth generation of warfare, the Internet, commercially available broadband communications, worldwide high-speed travel, satellite imagery, and the liberalization of technologies that could lead to the development of weapons of mass destruction, all of which used to be the soul domain of the militaries of only the most sophisticated nations, have greatly empowered international terrorists and transnational criminals to become serious threats to sovereign states. These combine to constitute fourth generation warfare (4GW).

As such, the world finds itself in a global 4GW war, albeit an undeclared one, against non-state actors. ISIL, like the Taliban and al-Qaeda before them, is an example of a 4GW threat of mammoth proportions. ISIL has struck terror in the hearts of millions through its use of the Internet and social media to recruit suicidal madmen to kill masses of people in Europe, North America and elsewhere. And while our military keeps insisting that “boots on the ground” in Iraq will be required to defeat ISIL, a fifth generation of warfare has been lurking behind the scenes as a full-on cyber war rages around the world. It is well known, for example, that Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons suffered a severe setback due to a cyber attack — the infiltration of a computer worm or virus that apparently destroyed over a thousand of that country’s nuclear centrifuges. Since then, Iran has allegedly risen to become one of the world’s cyber superpowers alongside the United States, Russia and China. Cyber warfare is not restricted to attacks against government institutions and military installations, as power grids and the private sector also pose lucrative targets for cyber attacks. And as we have seen with the appearance of “Anonymous” on the scene, non-state actors again are challenging the technological dominance the United States and other states and aspiring superpowers.

With all of this percolating in the background, our prime minister has advocated a return to sunny ways and the good old days of peacekeeping, with his CDS insisting that we aren’t at war in the Middle East. So what? Does our understanding of the apparent transformation of war at the strategic level challenge that assertion and call into question how our government is dealing with contemporary conflicts? If other people have declared war and committed acts of contemporary war against us, for whatever reasons (which we will get to in later articles), are we not at war? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, are we pre-occupied with regional Industrial Age solutions to global Information Age problems?

I would like to hear your views. If your contribution is included in my next installment of The Full Send, I will send you a copy of my book Rude Awakening: The Government’s Secret War Against Canada’s Veterans