Vanguard Magazine

Vanguard June/July 2021

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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16 JUNE/JULY 2021 ARMY that it reflects and embodies Canadian val- ues, both as an institution and as a group of individuals. This makes Lieutenant-General Wayne Eyre's commitment to ensure that the Canadian Army is not misperceived as a bastion for far-right extremists – or extrem- ists of any ideological stripe – absolutely es- sential. This is important domestically, and it is also vital continentally. We face a world of increasing political polarization and of threats to social cohe- sion that is increasingly aided and abetted by foreign adversaries seeking to divide our societies and undermine our democ- racy. Canadians' self-image of tolerance and diversity is a strong buttress against this, but we cannot become complacent. We are vulnerable to disaffection and mis- information campaigns by our adversaries designed to exacerbate divisions and create crises. The Canadian Army is wise to devise more creative ways to leverage Canadian diversity and engage (in the sense of gain- ing understanding and coordinating activi- ties with partners) with a wider breadth of groups and communities in Canada. The current focus on Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is a strong ex- ample. Last October marked the thirtieth anniversary of the end of the Oka Crisis – a scenario in which the Canadian Army was called upon to carry the "burden of peace" in a very volatile situation. This was a turning point in modern Canadian his- tory. When I think of Indigenous-military relations in Canada, however, my mind does not turn to that first. I think of the thousands of First Nations, Metis, and Inuit soldiers who have proudly served in Canadian uniforms since the First World War, and continue to do so today. I also think of all of the Canadian Rangers - not as symbols of sovereignty, but in terms of the practical capability that they bring as critical enablers for operations in isolated Northern and coastal communities. As we contemplate layered systems for North American defence, we cannot get so caught up in engineering technological solutions that we lose sight of how we can better le- verage the existing, human sensors that we have across the country – and the distinct capabilities that they bring to responding. To speak to the Canadian Army Com- mander's role as the Indigenous cham- pion within the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, I always marvel at how the Army is seen as a positive, constructive force in remote Canadian communities – largely because of the Canadian Rangers and relationships with the Ranger Instructors who train them, as well as with the various army ele- ments that have exercised in the North. How can the Canadian Army do more to support Whole-of-Government engage- ment with Indigenous communities and address wedges that can be exploited by adversaries? First, it is important to recog- nize that Indigenous peoples have a lot of security-related capacity. Not everyone will want to serve in a military uniform, and the Army should consider opportunities to support and train with Indigenous Guard- ian programs and other organizations that also serve as eyes and ears in Indigenous homelands, and can be valuable partners in discerning certain threats in and to North America. Furthermore, we should really listen to what communities want and need and think about how domestic Army activities might help to address infrastructure and training deficits. Although an increased domestic role for the Canadian Army might be in opposition to national security readiness requirements, climate change is forcing the issue on all belligerents. The principles from both jus ad bellum as well as jus in bello are likely to change the glob- al tolerance for violent adversarial exploits. The threats are changing, and the Canadi- an Army must be enabled and empowered to adapt to the shifting circumstances. At the same time, we should build bet- ter mechanisms to not only inform Indig- enous leaders at all levels about emerging threats but also to learn their ideas about how we might detect and counter mali- cious actors. My final point is simple: you cannot "surge" trust – it needs to be built over time. When the Army goes into Indige- nous communities, personnel should know the names of the people from those partic- ular places who have served, and explicitly honour their contributions and sacrifices. This is a powerful and appropriate way of invoking the past to enhance present rela- tionships and co-create a better future. So, when thinking about how the future land operating environment flows into continental defence, there is no question that it will be complex and dynamic. Vola- tile? Perhaps not in the conventional sense, but yes. And highly uncertain – well, that is certain… Acknowledgments The author would like to thank Troy Bouffard, Ryan Dean, and Nancy Teeple for helpful comments on various iterations of this commentary. P. (Paul) Whitney Lackenbauer is Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in the Study of the Canadian North and a Professor in the School for the Study of Canada at Trent University, Ontario, Canada. He also serves as Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of 1st Ca- nadian Ranger Patrol Group and is network lead of the North American and Arctic De- fence and Security Network (NAADSN). He has (co-)written or (co-)edited more than fiy books and more than one hundred academic articles and book chapters, many of which explore Arctic history, policy, sov- ereignty, and security issues. The Canadian Army is wise to devise more creative ways to leverage Canadian diversity and engage (in the sense of gaining understanding and coordinating activities with partners) with a wider breadth of groups and communities in Canada. Ms. Amanda Powers and Ms. Marina Watson part take in the frontline attack during Ex COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT. Photo: DND

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