Friday, February 25, 2005

The Isaac Brock Centre for Low Intensity Whup-Ass - a proposal

The recently announced boost in Canadian defence funding seems to have been received with some delight, as well it might, the Canadian armed forces having been treated with breathtaking shabbiness by their government for some time. My personal view is that the UK and USA should do as much as possible to coax the Canadian government into sustaining this newly active stance.

Having undertaken extensive reading over the past few weeks for an essay in which I hope to forward certain strategies for the successful conduct of the GWoT (so-called) one of the consistent themes to have caught my eye is the importance of developing a mechanism for co-ordination and dissemination of best practice in peace support and counterinsurgency operations among Western-aligned states.

Over a year ago now I contacted Air Marshal Sir Tim (now Air Marshal the Lord) Garden regarding his work as a defence advisor to the Liberal Democrat Party and he was kind enough to send me a copy of a (credit where credit is due: substantial and pretty impressive) paper dealing with Lib Dem defence policy proposals. Many of the policies on offer did not cause me to trill with delight, but one thing that did catch my eye was the notion that the UK should open a professional centre for LIC training and doctrine, which would not only serve as a seedbed for developing British doctrine but would also provide facilities for the training of native officers from Third World countries. This struck me as a fine idea then and an even finer one now.

In the matter of these sorts of operations, the United Kingdom and Canada share similar, though not identical, doctrines. Admittedly, the Canadians are more focued on peace support than counterinsurgency (though one can always argue that the two are ultimately indivisible) but it seems to me that they have access to a fund of experience and institutional memory that should be drawn on more extensively than is currently the case. On this basis, and in part to make up for the fact that we have something of an unfortunate recent track record of selling the Canadians second hand death trap military equipment on tick, it seems to me that the British government should not only consider investigating the viability of pursuing the foundation of an international gold-standard (and possibly interagency) COIN/Peace Support Ops centre but should give serious thought to inviting the Canadians to sign up as equal partners in the project.

2 Comments:

Blogger J. said...

Re: the LIC center option - have a care, see the controversy caused by the US Army's School of the Americas. Good intentions, bad press, and the "interrogation manuals" probably weren't a good idea. I think they changed their name, but the center's still down at Ft Benning, and they get their annual protesters every spring. 85% of their grads are good officers, the other 15% end up like Noriega.

12:57 PM  
Blogger Anthony said...

I know that of which you talk - which is partly why I feel that even in a broad multinational-cooperations GWoT context it might be better to have the mechanism for training and doctrinal dissemination Anglo-Canadian rather than American led. Though obviously American skills and personnel could be drawn upon - it's not like the USA doesn't have first class people in this area.

The facility itself would have to be a non-cloak and dagger outfit on a level with the JSCSC or the US Naval Postgrad College or whatnot. It would also be focused on training officer and NCO contingents from NATO and pro-Western states (India, Pakistan, Jordan, Thailand etc etc) rather than insurgents operating against established left wing governments.

An holistic approach is necessary and on thus basis it would probably be wise to look into making the effort interagency and have things like police training etc too.

1:12 PM  

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