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Crisis to Catalyst: The Strategic Effects of the Somalia Affair on the Canadian Armed Forces

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Technical Report,05 Jun 2016,25 May 2017

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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This historically based monograph uses a combination of primary and secondary sources, Canadian doctrine, and academic theory to explain how the Somalia Affair has affected the Canadian Armed Forces CAF. It shows how tactical incidents in Somalia, during the UNITAF mission, triggered a strategic crisis that was fundamentally mishandled by the extant strategic leadership, and then formed a catalyst for significant strategic and institutional effects, which continue to impact the CAF to this day. It clearly demonstrates that the Somalia Affair ruptured Canadian civil-military relations, adversely impacted the professional autonomy of the military, and forced an unprecedented evolution of the Canadian officer corps. Following a detailed literature review, each element of the Affair is discussed, enabling observation of the leadership and ethical failings which generated the strategic effects. Focus subsequently turns to the principle strategic effects and their continued impact on the CAF and the society it serves. In conclusion, several implications are discussed.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations

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