Document created: 15 October 2003
Air University Review, November-December 1974
Dr. Adrian Preston
In his celebrated indictment in December 1940 of national defence studies as an obligation of scholarship,l Edward Mead Earle called for a radically new treatment of national defence problems and posed three major questions: first, whether military affairs were the legitimate and, indeed, a vital concern of political and social scientists; second, what specific contribution academic habits and techniques could make, in a way that those of professional soldiers could not, to our understanding of the essential place of military power in the science of government and politics; and third, what topics of basic research in the nature of war as a fundamental social phenomenon could profitably be under taken ultimately to form a comprehensive basis for long-term defence policy and strategic planning.
Dr. Earle was struck by a paradox:
Although military defense has been a perennial problem of the American people since the first colonists landed on this continent, there has been no conscious, integrated and continuous study of military security as a fundamental problem of government and society. . . . Although we live in a war-like world and have ourselves been participants in large-scale wars, there has been almost no systematic consideration by American scholars of the role of war in human affairs—this despite the transparent truth, however deplorable, that war is a recurrent phenomenon which from time to time transcends all other human activity and assumes command of our lives, our fortunes and our destiny.2
Quite aside from this intrinsic interest, the problems of national defence confronting parliamentary democracies had a special claim upon historians and political scientists, for they represented a continuing dialectic between freedom and security. The intelligent organisation and direction of national resources in preparation for and during war required effective collaboration between civilians and soldiers. While soldiers were groping toward a wider comprehension of the social and economic constraints that effectually circumscribed their policies, there seemed no reason why civilians should not turn to the study of war and defence, matters deeply affecting both the nation at large and themselves as individuals. After all, strategic theory and military history, the social and economic aspects of defence, the military aspects of international relations and international law, the structure of military establishments and their political and constitutional relationship with civilian society, military education and professionalism—all these were not black arts consigned to the caves of the occult, the supratemporal, or the recondite but were clear, hard, and practical problems susceptible of analysis and criticism by informed laymen and upon which factual data as a scientific basis for scholarship were readily accessible. For academics to shirk the obligations of defence studies might well prove disastrous. There would always be vested interests and captivating theories to corrupt sound sense and discretion, while the sheer inertia of large military bureaucracies constituted an obstacle in itself. The theory and analysis of war and defence would be betrayed by default into the hands of a clique of eccentric publicists, would-be reformers, civil servants, or beau flaneurs who, in the vigorous tradition of Victorian military positivism, dredged with furious industry for facts and figures with which to entrench and advance their own special tactical theories or strategic policies: men of gritty brilliance, with quicksilver tongues and dogmatic candour, who linked events into problems, reduced the chaos of experience to predictable order, deduced principles and extrapolated trends, struck hard and fast analogies between the historical and contemporary conditions of war and defence, and in general tossed around the stuff of history—such recent and appalling history—with an insouciance which outraged all accepted rules of precaution, reason, or even strict military logic; men such as Vansittart and Liddell Hart who peddled their policies of despair, limited liability, and the indecisiveness of modern war and who seemed prepared to sacrifice the Indian Empire—and indeed the whole Asian theatre of war—to a perverse obsession with averting another Continental commitment.
In the best liberal traditions of Western constitutionalism, the notion that defence studies might be incorporated into their curricula struck most American universities as repellent, immoral, and positively unthinkable. The study of the history of war itself was regarded as a kind of seditious cloak for official militarism. Despite Earle’s own pioneering efforts, there did not exist in American institutions—as there were at Oxford, Cambridge, and more recently at the University of London—chairs for the comprehensive and systematic study of war as a rational medium of social conflict, of the limitations and capabilities of organised force in statecraft.
Even the study of American military history until recently had been forfeited to foreigners: Englishmen such as Henderson (Stonewall Jackson) and Liddell Hart (Sherman) had written the best biographical studies of the American Civil War; and no attempt had been made to salvage an official account of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe from the crates of documents disintegrating in Boston warehouses. Those civilian societies that skirted obscurely on the fringes of military scholarship and research did so out of a fugitive and sterile antiquarianism or to serve the purposes of some inexplicable propaganda: neither of which, in the eyes of professional and civilian critics, helped—indeed they unwittingly damaged—the otherwise sound case for the rigorous, dispassionate, and documented study of war as a factor inherent in—and possibly indispensable to—the science of government and politics. Neither the American Military Institute nor the United States Naval Institute has achieved the effectiveness enjoyed by the Royal United Services Institute as a forum or floating seminar for stimulating professional debate about the technical and political aspects of national security. There was no tradition of consistent critical yet responsible military journalism of the kind associated in England with the names of Russell, Forbes, Wilkinson, and Repington. There was no tradition grounded upon a clear-eyed appreciation of the special attributes and needs of the American profession of arms without being mesmerised by them; none which would place that profession—with all its claims to a distinct corpus of specific technical knowledge and doctrine, an exclusive group coherence, and a unique complex of institutions and codes—firmly within the context of the social and political forces that had shaped—and possessed the ultimate power to disband—it; none which could translate the alarming shifts and changes in international politics and the bewildering jargon of the military bureaucrat into layman’s table talk.
Moreover, within the pre-World War II government itself, at no level—Executive, Congressional, or Service—was there either the will or the machinery to formulate and execute grand strategic policy. The House and Senate committees on military and naval affairs and appropriations were riven with parochialism, partisanship, and patronage; and national defence had degenerated into the grubby dispensation of local contracts for army posts and naval stations. An occasional chairman of extraordinary abilities, ambition, or eloquence might drive or drag his committee above its stagey mediocrity; but, in the main, Congressional reaction to the issues of national defence was intermittent, short-term, and uncritical. Although technically and constitutionally Commander in Chief, the President—unlike his fascist contemporaries in Italy and Germany and Japan and indeed unlike Baldwin or Chamberlain in Britain—rarely found the time to keep directly and personally informed about the national military condition. Presidential messages and quadrennial platform speeches were confessedly collections of unworkable platitudes. The secretaryships of War and Navy, like the War Ministries of Victorian England, were distinctly inferior Cabinet posts, attracting with rare exceptions only the theatrical or incompetent and otherwise providing a springboard for coming politicians of ambition and weight. It seemed an axiom of American politics that the administration of defence contained an inherent capacity for unwelcome controversy that was in inverse proportion to the budget allocated and its direct relationship with the broader social and economic interests of the state. There was no National Defense Council, similar to the Committee of Imperial Defence, charged with the continuous, systematic, and professional study of contemporary developments in international politics and military technology as they bore upon the conditions and needs of American security; with the formulation of integrated contingency plans; with the coordination of domestic resources and strategic interests; and with the provision of a reservoir of expert up-to-date technical military advice, skills, and knowledge. The Army War College had been closed because there were not then enough crises or colonels to make it worthwhile. There was no higher defence college (similar to the Imperial Defence College) to compose the interservice and civil-military disputes which had been so disfiguring a feature of the military politics of World War I and which the service war colleges themselves had done much to perpetuate and embitter.
Writing in 1940, Dr. Earle observed:
. . . the Army War College has been closed because of the shortage of commissioned personnel in the higher ranks. There is now no group of trained personnel engaged in theoretical studies—a deficiency which expert scholars might overcome were they available in any number. In general, however, what is involved is not temporary measures to meet an emergency but a long-term program of research and, ultimately, of teaching which will enable the United States in times of peace as well as in times of crisis and war to build up a body of knowledge and a corps of scholarly experts who can help in the formulation of public policy and who can contribute to an understanding of the military problems and the military power of the nation.
. . . Only the scholar is capable of maintaining a continuous, objective and documented study of the problem. Experience shows that comparable results cannot be expected from the public, the politician, the government, or even the armed services. Furthermore, only the scholar can create a vast reservoir of competence in the field. The people whom he teaches and for whom he writes today will be the voters, teachers, reserve officers and statesmen of tomorrow. No such reservoir of competence now exists. . . . Studies now undertaken will have . . . their greatest importance . . . in laying sound and broad foundations for a national military policy in the longer future which will not merely be concerned with a passing crisis—however menacing and prolonged—but will be intimately related to our political ideals, geographical position, industrial resources, governmental institutions, standard of living, and long-run national objectives.3
All this, unimaginably distant and innocent as it seems today, could be explained in terms of the geostrategic position of the United States, its absorption with frontier pacification and economic self-sufficiency, its rooted and abiding aversion to the unbridled presence or use of military power, the absence of extrahemispheric wars and colonial military commitments, and the protection incidentally afforded by the incessant balancing of power in Europe. It was transformed dramatically and irrevocably between Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. The defeat or dismemberment of France, Italy, Germany, and Japan; the emergence of organised national resistance and liberation movements in Europe, Africa, and Asia; the disintegration of the British, French, and Dutch colonial empires; and the advent of nuclear deterrence for those powers which could afford it—all thrust upon the United States the ineluctability of a policy of containment and retaliation and an unprecedented range of military problems and commitments both in Europe and in Asia with which it was historically, intellectually, and psychologically ill-equipped to deal American national security policy rapidly assumed the grotesque features of a massive ideological crusade. In these circumstances the growth of defence studies in the United States and to a lesser extent in Great Britain and Europe, for which Earle had pleaded a quarter century or so before, was at once explosive, encyclopedic, even Promethean.4
Much of this work has been unfortunately and undeniably oversophisticated and at times counterproductive in its influence upon defence policy; but pessimists can still be found who believe that unless they turn away from the study of past military operations to the nature of war itself, making greater use of the resources of political philosophy, economics, and sociology and somehow coming to better terms with applied science, the traditional processes of professional education are doomed to antiquarianism. Yet it is clear that the development of weapons and new states, which has effected so drastic a change in the nature of war and international relations since 1945, has also caused us radically to re-examine the concepts and presuppositions on which the fabric and philosophy of the profession of arms are based. Indeed, Earle himself, in his discussion of the conditions that circumscribed the role of the soldier in the public discussion of strategy and defence policy, as much as admitted that he was treating less than half of a twofold problem. And today intelligent commentators frequently express concern that strategy has become too much of an esoteric plaything in the hands of irresponsible “experts” and often all too unrelated to professional, technological, and humanitarian considerations.
If the civilian has become “the compleat stratygyst” of our time, there may be danger in encouraging the soldier to go too far the other way. Since Plato, philosophers have wrestled with the purposes of education; but it is in the military profession that men’s lives and national security at once depend as much upon contemplation as upon action, upon diplomacy as upon force; that the conflict between “general” and “technical,” “cultural” and “vocational,” “humanistic” and “technological” has been most acute and long-standing. However this relationship may be resolved—and it is largely a matter of cultural heritage and social values—in most nations that have pretensions of military power the complexion and objectives of professional military education are manifestly constrained by the state of military technology and international relations and the nature of future war that might predictably emerge between them. At the same time, military education, like the profession which it sustains, clearly mirrors the society in which it must flourish and so is shaped in its raw materials by the standards and structure of secondary and higher education generally and by the exigencies and pressures of domestic politics and economics. Only when all these elements are working in harmonious dialectic can there be a fruitful policy of education for defence.
If for Americans today Earle’s article possesses no more significance than that of a remarkably prescient document of a previous era, for Canadians it contains an intrinsic lesson of great relevance, embarked as we are on a subtle but impatient revolution in social, constitutional, and military affairs. But only by establishing the context in which it was written, assessing the nature, extent, and significance of the changes that have since occurred, and relating them to Canadian conditions and needs can we take his words as a guide to our own studies and policies as we move to fulfill Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s promise of destiny in world affairs in the second half of the twentieth century.
We are often tempted today to overestimate the changes brought about in the nature of war and international politics through the introduction of nuclear weapons. The present ascendency of political scientists, economists, mathematicians, and sociologists in our universities and defence research institutes has challenged the relevance of military history—indeed most history—to modern social and political conditions, which seem to have been wrenched out of all historical context. The responsible defence specialists upon whom was first thrust the task of devising strategic policy with weapons capable of unleashing unprecedented destruction were readily vulnerable—and indeed sometimes pardonably susceptible—to those theoreticians who, much like those interwar theorists who passionately ascribed to their chosen innovations the qualities of ultimate weapons, saw no alternative to subverting the established Clausewitzian thesis concerning the relationship between war, strategy, and diplomacy to that of Ludendorff and Lenin. These specialists concluded that since war was essentially a conflict of societies—a permanent state of social conflict varying only in its methods and intensity—all international relations were but a mere extension of warfare.
The entry into common usage of such terms as “national strategy,” “cold war,” and “garrison state” is clothed with a subtle and sinister significance and may or may not, as some critics have argued,5 betray a dangerous confusion of categories and a fundamental misappreciation of the nature of international affairs. For, after all, there is much inescapable logic in Marxist military philosophy, and the result of antithesis between two rival military cultures is not necessarily, nor even usually, conflict but is mutual conformity. Rather it betrays perhaps a constitutional reluctance to reshape the foundations of our beliefs and the armies recruited to defend them, to counter more limited and effective forms of violence specifically deployed to exploit the very contradictions in our society that we refuse to resolve.
Such instruments of policy, so ably wielded in the past by Machiavelli, Gandhi, and Hitler, today provide nations with sufficient and acceptable substitutes for nuclear warfare in the acquisition and exercise of their political power. Indeed, in the generation that has elapsed since 1939, there has been an intensification rather than a cessation of traditional means of limited conflict, whose potentiality as valid instruments of major strategy and policy were all too imperfectly recognized and understood by the Western democracies before then and whose perfection today is of paramount concern to military planners. The complex tangle of social, constitutional, and diplomatic consequences of the military revolution of our time is still without logic or pattern and perhaps may never be completely unravelled by any future historian or political scientist. His task might be made that much simpler, however, were he to accept as a starting point the thesis that the revolution in nuclear warfare—with all its implications—is merely an amplification of that inaugurated by Machiavelli and Gustavus Adolphus three centuries before and that a more approximate comprehension of the complexity of modern war as an intellectual challenge might be gained from a comparative analysis of the nature and enduring features of the original.
The effective combination of missile weapons and close action has always been one of the central problems of warfare. That statement is no less true of the attempts of Maurice of Nassau and Gustavus Adolphus to develop the right form of close action dependent upon the impact and mass, the firepower and shock, of heavy infantry than it is of military planners today who must seek some effective form of combining the impact and mass represented by nuclear and conventional or guerrilla forces. Indeed, the most intractable question facing strategic specialists today is as much to visualise, then plan and educate for, some practicable synthetic pattern of battlefield behaviour based on the effective combination of nuclear, conventional, and guerrilla forms of war as it is of the vast collective humanitarian interest to prevent, restrain, or retard it.
The widespread introduction of handgun and arquebus, while in itself a symbolic and accessory factor in the overthrow of the old chivalric order centred on heavy cavalry and castles, did not immediately transform the monarcho-feudalism of the Middle Ages into the nation-state system of modern international politics. In the same way, the introduction of nuclear weapons was not singular in contributing to international anarchy and did not, in the opinion of defence theorists on both sides, at once or drastically alter the conventional pattern of warfare as it had been experienced in World War II.
In terms of the actual conduct of warfare and the refinement of strategic thought, these potentially revolutionary innovations, whether of firearm or nuclear missile, in fact represented a retrograde step or at least created such a confusing and precarious situation that it seemed impossible or positively dangerous to move forward in it. If Agincourt represented the medieval climax in the effective coordination of archer and man-at-arms, so the German blitzkrieg, or perhaps more appropriately the OVERLORD invasion, suggests the culmination of a trend towards the tactical integration of land, sea, and air power that we are not likely to see repeated on so huge a scale.
As governments, specialists, and peoples came to recognise if not embrace the potentialities and implications of the new weapons, as the possible nature of a nuclear war threw increasing doubt on either the time or the need to convert the national peacetime economy to a war footing, on the old techniques of mobilising major conventional forces, and on the classical strategical principles along which they had been deployed, so it seemed imperative to seek ways and means not so much for abandoning conventional forces, techniques, and strategic concepts as for adapting them to the new conditions of warfare within a fresh harmonic symphony of nuclear and modified conventional forces that they hoped to bring about. Thus, by a curious paradox, the coming of new weapons was accompanied by a sharp and sudden decline in firepower.
For the tacticians of the sixteenth century, like the strategists of the twentieth, found they had been provided with a thoroughly expensive and inefficient weapon.
For almost identical reasons, the earliest atom bombs, for all their unexampled power, were not immediately accepted as being in themselves decisive weapons of war. Their process of manufacture was so slow and expensive that it was several years before the United States could compile a stock sufficient to devastate its most probable rival. Such bombs as the scientists devised could be transported to their targets only in subsonic, short-range manned bombers, vulnerable to ground fire or fighter interception. Moreover, blast and radiation presented such seemingly irresolvable tactical, legal, and moral issues that it was difficult to conceive of their use in safe combination with other tactical forces or indeed at any time in circumstances short of national survival or some great ideological crusade.
When the world began to rearm again in 1950, the atom bomb was considered an ancillary and not a decisive weapon in a conflict which would be unlikely to differ much in its basic pattern from World War II. The year 1945, like 1495, only provided a foretaste of what might come when the new technology got into its stride; when thermonuclear fusion replaced atomic fission, and manned bombers were supplemented by ballistic missiles; when national security had become a matter of survival and international relations one gigantic ideological confrontation.
It was logical and perhaps even necessary in these circumstances that attempts should be made to provide in numbers of weapons what they lacked in individual performance. At the same time, there seemed good and sufficient reasons for not abandoning those eclectic forces and techniques—such as blockade, propaganda, blitzkrieg, and unconventional warfare—which had contributed significantly if indirectly to the defeat of the Axis powers. Indeed, their combined effectiveness in certain well-prescribed situations such as the Berlin and Cuban blockades, the Korean War, and the Arab-Israeli wars, soon emphasised their prescriptive right to be retained as adjunctive if not primary forms of conflict. Yet acute ideological as well as strategic interests in Europe made it urgent to effect somehow a fruitful combination between massed atomic firepower and massed ground forces. As the Spanish tercio represented the first clumsy attempt, without achieving optimal firepower or maneuverability, at hastily combining massed musketeers with massed pikemen, so NATO represented a mariage de convenance between nuclear and conventional forces—a marriage made all the more hazardous and potentially barren by the “shotgun” character of its inception and the debatable provision of tactical nuclear weapons.
At the same time, the swift achievement of Russian nuclear parity and the development of early warning and antiballistic missile systems brought profound changes to the science and strategic theory of defence. Poised beneath the threat of inescapable and unacceptable destruction, military security, for those nations that could afford it, lay only in the capacity to deter one’s adversary by having the capacity to inflict on him inescapable and unacceptable damage in return.
The short-term effects of these developments were not simply to hobble the conduct of nuclear warfare but to create a distinct and rooted aversion towards it and, in the absence of operational analysis under real conditions, to stunt the growth of applied strategy involving the integrated deployment of all alternative forms of conflict. The huge size of the nuclear stockpile and the maintenance of large conventional forces, strategically and politically fused as they came to be in NATO and subsequent alliance systems, could not be sufficiently reconciled as a tactical instrument appropriate to the peculiar cut and thrust of international politics. Together they obscured the need for alternative mechanisms to wage more limited but less regular forms of conflict as they began to develop in the 1950s.
Tactical nuclear weapons made the possibility of a major nuclear war not less certain but less controllable, dependent as it might be upon the untrained judgment of junior commanders. Correspondingly, the creation of international defence organisations in peacetime not only evoked official countersystems that were tolerable because expected but posed fundamental issues of command and control which themselves further compounded the formulation and adoption of a common integrated and realistic strategy by concentrating too much upon European, as distinct from Asian or global, conditions and needs.
The steady magnification of nuclear power by both sides has paradoxically strengthened that element, or agent, of national power that is least apt to be used offensively; and strategy, by a curious confusion of terms, has all too often been identified with the weapon it is partially but not principally designed to deploy. At the same time, many theorists, rationalising their own impotence and the intrinsic deterrent strength of nuclear power, have continued to extol a superior science of psychological maneuver and revolutionary warfare which others consider would be ultimately destructive of our moral traditions and social values, would be productive of deep domestic cleavages, and would promote, not alleviate, international anarchy. They cannot visualise any political problem to which the destruction of millions of civilians would provide the appropriate military answer. They would condemn nuclear warfare as the last resort of a singularly inept or ill-advised politician.
Between those two extremes in military postures that are accentuated versions of Clausewitz’s concepts of “absolute” and “real” war, and the reluctance to contemplate the extensive use of either, modern strategic thought now stands paralysed and may never be hammered out except in the blazing forge of a long war. Over the past decade or so, the shifts and trends in international politics and technology—not least in public communications media—have made nuclear warfare decreasingly likely or tenable as a rational instrument of national policy, though the remote possibility in exceptional circumstances always remains. Moreover, the wholesale reconversion of our military establishment, if not of our social and moral environment, in such a way as to combine the techniques of the insurgent with the discipline of the regular would involve the creation of a revolutionary ethos of professional responsibility and behaviour which would not only be susceptible to social disorder and internal revolt in time of actual or apprehended crisis but would impose inevitable and intolerable strains upon the constitutional prerogatives of the state which could only be safeguarded by imposing in return restraints intolerable to professional spirit and efficiency.
To restate our original proposition, one of the major military problems today is how best to contain and control the new insurgent spirit and techniques of armed forces, contracted by exposure during prolonged Asiatic warfare, in such a way as to preserve their enhanced tactical aptitudes and adapt them to operations of a conventional or nuclear kind without impairing the moral values or constitutional supremacy of the state. For the professional soldier, the answer, at least in part, lay, as it did for Gustavus Adolphus and Sir David Dundas, in the introduction of a more enlightened but equally more exacting form of discipline and education, to give him the technical expertise and exceptional political wisdom required to cope intelligently with the demands of modern conflict.
For statesmen and specialists, officials, and academics, there is a need, greater beyond all precedent, for a deeper understanding of the nature of war, of the role of force in statecraft, and of the needs, capabilities, and limitations of the armed forces of which they dispose. The development of some neo-Clausewitzian philosophy of war comprising a fresh analysis of the dialectic between extremist forms of conflict that would provide a basis for education for defense is, of course, not fully possible in the absence of nuclear wars during which the just apportionment of responsibility and influence as between statesmen and soldiers, soldiers and strategists, scientists and specialists, would be evolved.
In these circumstances military philosophy is dangerously liable to wither into the recondite preserve of economists or mathematicians, divorced from practical, professional, or humanitarian considerations. There are signs that the dimensions of the problem are being probed and that such a philosophy of conflict might ultimately prevail, but there are many who feel that it is still far from attaining its legitimate and final form.6
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
1. Edward Mead Earle, “National Defense and Political Science,” Political Science Quarterly, LV, 4 December 1940, pp. 481-95; see also by the same author, “American Military Policy and National Security,” ibid., LIII, March 1938, pp. 1-13. Earle’s pioneering efforts to persuade American scholars to take seriously the question of national defence and grand strategy, of which his Makers of Modern Strategy was but the culmination, have yet to receive the recognition they deserve.
2. Earle, “National Defense and Political Science,” p. 48l.
3. Ibid., pp. 490-91; 494-95.
4. That the evolution of modern strategic thought is at last susceptible to the techniques and perspectives of the historian’s craft has been recently suggested by Raymond Aron and Michael Howard. See R. Aron, “The Evolution of Modern Strategic Thought,” and M. Howard, “The Classical Strategists,” Adelphi Paper no. 54, International Institute for Strategic Studies, London, 1969, pp. 1-17, 18-32. See also C. S. Gray, “The Rise and Fall of the Academic Strategists,” Journal of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, May 1970. Whether war studies or strategic history is the most appropriate foundation for professional military education continues to be debated in the Army Quarterly. See also H. Bull, “Strategic Studies and Its Critics,” World Politics, XX, July 1968; J. Garnett, ed., Theories of Peace and Security: A Reader in Contemporary Strategic Thought, London: Macmillan, 1972. It is often forgotten that Machiavelli and Clausewitz, Jomini and Mahan, even Kissinger and Brodie were historians before they became strategic analysts and theoreticians.
5. Michael Howard, “Military Power and International Order,” International Affairs, XL, July 1964, pp. 379-408,
6. In Canada, the strategic speculation that emerges fitfully and more or less unofficially from the established chairs of military and strategic studies, the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, the university centres of international studies, and the service academies often conveys a tone of futility, apology, or despair: that no matter what they say or do, Canadian analysts will never attain the pre-eminence or influence commanded by their European or American colleagues, nor the problems of Canadian security be fairly faced by their governments and people. This disillusionment is real and understandable and is no implicit reflexion upon the quality of Canadian scholarship and research. The absence of Canadian strategists of world stature is quite simply explained in terms of Canada’s small and thinly scattered population, her traditions of political and military subordination, an officer corps educated in a technical rather than a literary cast of mind and, perhaps most important of all, the lack of any sovereign defence problems that require her to maintain and deploy powerful armed forces independent of those committed to NATO and NORAD. Even Canadian military history, rich and instructive as it is, is but a series of footnotes to that of Europe and America. Nevertheless, the depth and growth of Canadian defence studies had not been well served by the practice of employing fugitive foreign defence specialists—however great the temptation and however good they may be—or by an emphasis upon “applied policy” research into subjects of immediate “defence relevance.” For further discussion of this point, see C. S. Gray, “The Need for Independent Canadian Strategic Thought,” Canadian Defence Quarterly, I, Summer 1971, pp. 6-12.
Dr. Adrian Preston (Ph.D., University of London) is an Associate Professor of History and War Studies at the Royal Military College of Canada. He served as captain in the Canadian Army, 1954-62, and is a graduate of the Royal Military College. He has lectured at defense colleges in Canada and India and is author of three books and numerous articles in professional journals worldwide. Dr. Preston was Visiting Professor of Military and Strategic Studies at Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada, during 1973-74. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and of the Royal Historical Society.
The conclusions and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author cultivated in the freedom of expression, academic environment of Air University. They do not reflect the official position of the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, the United States Air Force or the Air University.
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