Accession Number:



The Emperor Has No Clothes: The Canadian Perspective for Capacity Building Operations

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Monograph]

Corporate Author:

US Army School for Advanced Military Studies

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Canada is likely to continue using the Canadian Armed Forces CAF to build capabilities in fragile states and stabilize conflict-affected states in Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in the near term. The conduct of capacity building CB operations is not a new paradigm. Through the lens of a traditional approach, the CAF uses the Operational Planning Process OPP combined with operational art and design for the creation of military strategies and operations within the contemporary operating environment. This raises the following question What role does contextual understanding have in producing CB strategies and operations that are effective and measurable This monograph argues that the use of system framing from a linear to a complex adaptive systems approach can become the basis for CB operations that address national imperatives and mission requirements. The CAF needs to institutionalize a methodology, a constructivism approach that includes design thinking within its OPP. Without the institutionalization of a holistic method for planning and executing CB operations, the CAF will continue the same traditional approach of bottom-up through intensive iterations. Design thinking allows commanders and their staff to create internally coherent military strategies, campaigns, and operations, in line with the twenty-first centurys requirements to be externally relevant. This methodology will help the CAF to avoid the same painful learning, adaptation, and evolution that the organization experienced in the past while conducting CB operations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]