Accession Number:



The Evolving Requirements of the Canadian Special Operations Forces: A Future Concept Paper

Descriptive Note:


Corporate Author:


Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Colonel Paul Taillons paper suggests new directions for Canadian Special Operations Forces CANSOF, propelled mainly by the demands of the international environment since the September 11, 2001 attack in New York City. This is of special interest as Canadian forces must both face up to new threats from extremists who use terrorism to advance their interests, and deal with limitations on the size of their security forces. Indeed, the Canadian Armed Forces have sustained a significant negative growth in the last 20 years, placing this significant ally somewhere between Singapore and Uzbekistan in military personnel strength. Though small in size, the Canadian military has been lion-hearted in taking on the democratic worlds most demanding security challenges Canadians have deployed to Afghanistan, Rwanda, Haiti, and even Yugoslavia. Dr. Taillon discusses a way forward for Canada to expand its force and significantly improve its capabilities through a focused military education system that mutually supports the missions of CANSOF and conventional forces. This is a tall order and Dr. Taillon prudently highlights the current fiscal and force size constraints on the Canadian Armed Forces. He suggests that the Canadian Armed Forces revisit the issue of recruiting citizens for SOF service, placing strong emphasis on talent-spotting in colleges, among ethnic groups, and within specialized civilian career fields. He also advances the concept of a robust CANSOF reserve to augment the forces now decisively engaged in support of Canadas interests. From a U.S. Special Operations Command USSOCOM perspective, understanding potential coalition SOF partners capabilities is a critical element in developing joint strategic and operational plans. Taillons paper provides insight into current issues that are certain to impact Canadian SOF while suggesting some issues for USSOCOM to think about as it launches new programs for education and force transition.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare

Distribution Statement: