Report of a Symposium on Canadian Defence Policy: Some Critical Considerations
Centre for International and Security Studies, York University
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YCISS hosted a conference at the Canadian Forces College on 11 April 2003, which brought together a select group of academics from across Canada, drawn primarily from Security and Defence Forum (SDF) centres, to discuss the questions of what a re-conception of security policy would mean for the organisation of the Canadian Forces, and how critical perspectives could make concrete policy recommendations for the CF. While the participants approached the topics from a range of perspectives, there was a broad underlying belief that the status quo was having a negative impact on the capacity of the CF to fulfil its assigned missions, and that the security environment facing Canada today is dramatically different from the one present in the early 1990s when the last Defence Review was undertaken. This policy paper is based on the discussions that took place at our April meeting, but does not necessarily represent the views of all of the participants. W hat we have set out to demonstrate is that a defence review is required and that it must commence with an examination of what Canada’s security needs are prior to an examination of the threats that are, or may be, present. After these core arguments, we present one view of how a reconception of Canada’s security needs in the context of the current and emerging international environment will result in changes in the manner in which the Canadian Forces are organised. Covering the range from domestic security through human security and international peace and security challenges including the traditional forms of robust military force, this policy paper advocates a re organisation of the Canadian Forces that would ensure its continued viability, relevance, and effectiveness as a modern military.