The Canadian Forces and Interoperability

Article excerpt

CANADA

Panacea or perdition?

Edited by Ann L. Griffiths

Halifax NS: Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, Dalhousie University, 2002, x, 240pp, $19.95, ISBN 1-896440-40-1

This book tackles a very important topic and, on the whole, does a respectable job of raising and arguing 21st century interoperability issues. The chapters address Canadian Forces interoperability based on an article by Danford Middlemiss and Denis Stairs in Policy Matters in June 2002. The contributing authors, aside from praising or criticizing Middlemiss and Stairs, expand the debate on interoperability, including discussions of domestic politics, the status of the military, continental security, and the 'Canadian worldview.' Some of the analysis is fresh, but some of it is recycled and unpersuasive.

While length is not always a virtue, in this case some of the writers should have put greater effort into assembling words. Quite frankly, there are more than a few chapters that are far too short and say very little. How much can you say in five pages? It appears that contributors were quickly rounded up, given the topic, and editors were satisfied to receive what was submitted. In retrospect, the book would have been stronger if there were fewer voices, longer chapters (at least ten pages), and one or two more opinions from your southern neighbour. After all, the focus of Canadian interoperability is largely with the United States.

Books must stand the test of time; this one will be remembered because it contributes significantly to the debate about Canada's strong yet bizarre relationship with its closest partner in trade, democracy, and security, not to mention its place in the world. …