TRN409H1F/GLA 2050H

Selected Topics in International Studies

Canadian Defence Policy Since the End of the Cold War

Instructors: Jack Cunningham, Greg Donaghy, The Hon. Bill Graham
Duration: Fall 2019 term | Wednesdays, 2-4PM

Canada’s military stance and defence policies were geared to Cold War challenges for most of the period between the end of the Second World War and the fading of East-West tensions and the dismantling of the Soviet bloc. The end of the Cold War brought a period of uncertainty to Canadian defence policy and military strategy, to which successive governments tried to adapt.

This course covers changes to Canadian defence policy and military posture since the late 1980s. Early sessions will address Canada’s Cold War stance, the Mulroney government’s response to the winding down of East-West hostilities, and Canadian involvement in the First Gulf War. Subsequent classes will discuss the impact of the defence spending reductions of the 1990s, the Chretien government’s 1994 Defence White Paper, and the debate over the role of the Canadian military and the military instrument more broadly, in the post-Cold War international environment.

We will look at changes in strategy, tactics, the operational art, and the impact of changes in military technology and doctrine.  Questions of procurement and spending will also be considered, along with changes to the organization of the Canadian Forces and interactions with allies and coalition partners in NATO, NORAD, and UN peacekeeping operations. We will discuss the changing nature of the Canadian military, including civil-military relations, the military’s place in the wider society, conditions of service, and the impact of American models on Canadian doctrine and military culture. Later sessions will look at the 2005 Defence Policy Statement, the Canada First and Northern Strategies, and the broader approaches to defence policy of the Martin and Harper governments.

Individual sessions will examine particular military operations and decisions in detail. These will include the First Gulf War; Somalia; Kosovo; Rwanda; participation in Ballistic Missile Defence and NORAD renewal; and Afghanistan. While the focus is on the Canadian experience, we will also pay attention to the broader literature dealing with post-Cold War warfare, the changing nature of peacekeeping, the “three-block war” and counterinsurgency.

Course Syllabus can be found here.