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					                                                                                            Fraser Forum, March 2005

Ballistic Missile                                                                            mer chair of the American section of the
                                                                                             Canada-US Permanent Joint Board on
                                                                                             Defense, established in 1940, noted that
                                                                                             the strategic partnership between the

Defence & the Future                                                                         two countries “is now beginning to be
                                                                                             threatened by the decline in the
                                                                                             resources and capabilities of the Cana-

of Canada-US                                                                                 dian Forces” (Mason, 2003, p. 1).

                                                                                             This is not a pretty picture. Canada can-
                                                                                             not deter tiny Denmark; Canada cannot

Cooperation                                                                                  move its troops to where they are
                                                                                             needed. Perhaps worst of all, Canada is
                                                                                             losing the ability to cooperate in its own
                                                                                             defense with its most important ally.
                                                                                             More specifically still, because of prevar-
                                                                                             ication over Ballistic Missile Defense
                                                                                             (BMD) and then a refusal to take part at
                                                                                             all, Canada has relinquished an impor-
                                                                                             tant future dimension of continental

                                                                                             defense entirely to the United States.
           by Barry Cooper &
           Mercedes Stephenson                With respect to protecting Canada and
                                              contributing to international security,        Washington has noticed the grim condi-
                                              the evidence is compelling. In 2004, for       tion of the Canadian Forces today. One
             anada’s defense and security                                                    sign has been the “public diplomacy” of
                                              example, the CF proved incapable of
             policy is outlined in the 1994                                                  out-going Ambassador to Canada Paul
                                              preventing Denmark from laying claim
Defense White Paper and the 2004 Na-                                                         Cellucci, who has on many occasions
                                              to Hans Island, even though the Arctic
tional Security Policy (Canada, 1994;                                                        expressed his government’s desire that
                                              is said to have great symbolic value to
2004). Both documents rank policy ob-                                                        the CF be improved. But the US has
                                              Canadians. So far as international secu-
jectives as: (1) protecting Canada; (2) co-                                                  been acting as well as talking. Nowhere
                                              rity contributions are concerned, with-
operating with the United States in                                                          is this clearer than with BMD.
                                              out strategic air lift Canada must either
defense of North America; and (3) con-
                                              hitch a ride with the Americans or rent
tributing to international security. Yet                                                     In a recent Fraser Alert, Alexander
                                              planes from member-states of the for-
critics of Canadian defense and security                                                     Moens and Barry Cooper (2005) argue
                                              mer Soviet Union. Most recently it hap-
policy, both inside and outside govern-                                                      that the monetary costs of joining the
                                              pened with the tardy deployment of the
ment, have long maintained that the gov-                                                     American BMD program are low and
                                              Disaster Assistance Response Team
ernment of Canada has failed to provide                                                      the security benefits are high. Recipro-
                                              (DART) to South Asia in the aftermath
the Canadian Forces (CF) with suffi-                                                         cally, the costs of not joining are high in
                                              of the 2004 Tsunami.
cient resources to carry out declared pol-                                                   terms of sovereignty and the benefits are
icy (Bland, 2003; Granatstein, 2004;          Canada’s ability to play a significant role    low in terms of everything except a sym-
Cooper, Stephenson, and Szeto, 2004;          in the defense of North America, which         bolic gesture of anti-Americanism. We
Lagassé, 2005).                               is the topic of this article, has also         will not repeat those arguments but
                                              declined. In 2003, Dwight Mason, for-          consider instead the American response
                                                                                             to Canadian delays.

Barry Cooper ( is Professor of Political Science at the            First, a few facts regarding which there
University of Calgary and Director of The Fraser Institute’s Alberta office.
                                                                                             is widespread agreement: the current
Mercedes Stephenson is a policy analyst for the underground royal commission and the
host of iChannel’s urc Investigates. Named one of Maclean’s magazine’s “Best and             system is designed to defend against a
Brightest” in 2004, she is a graduate student at the University of Calgary’s Center for      relatively small arsenal of a rogue state
Military and Strategic Studies.                                                              such as North Korea, not Russia’s thou-

                                                                                                            March 2005             | 9
sands of nuclear weapons. Moreover,           Although it is unlikely that other coun-       The real debate over missile defense has
Canada was considering participation          tries would deliberately target Canada,        not been about the system but about the
only in the Ground-Based Midcourse            that does not mean that Canada is safe         maintenance of Canadian sovereignty
Defense (GBMD) program, which pro-            from an ICBM attack. Technological             through NORAD. The Canadian gov-
vides defense against a limited               advances have accelerated the covert           ernment has failed to inform Canadians
rogue-state attack and against unautho-       proliferation of both weapons and bal-         of the implications of procrastination
rized or accidental launches. It aims to      listic delivery systems, but the availabil-    and of the impact of non-participation
deal with up to 20 incoming warheads          ity of materials and know-how does not         on Canadian sovereignty. Historically,
using approximately 100 ground-based          guarantee accuracy. Current prolifera-         Canada has pursued continental defense
interceptors. At present, the interceptors    tion, unlike during the Cold War, is           with the United States as much from
are located at Fort Greeley, Alaska, and      uncontrolled and unconstrained. North          security as from sovereignty concerns.
at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Califor-        Korea, for example, has never tested its       The whole point of NORAD was to
nia. Thus, GBMD works without Cana-           nuclear weapons in conjunction with a          reassure the US of Canada’s military
dian participation and is unhindered by       delivery system, so no one knows how           credibility and simultaneously to main-
the lack of Canadian participation.           accurate or effective its weapons system       tain Canadian command of all military
                                              is. In other words, the North Koreans          assets in or over Canadian territory.
Interceptors are made up of two parts: a      might launch a missile at Seattle and hit
launch vehicle—the rocket that propels        Vancouver.                                     The biggest additions to the original
the interceptor into space—and a six-                                                        1957 NORAD mission are aerospace
foot-long concrete and metal kill vehicle     Consider the following scenario: two           warning and aerospace control. The for-
designed to collide with an incoming          years from now the North Koreans               mer refers to detecting and warning of
warhead at a very high speed and vaporize     launch a five-missile salvo across the         potential missile attack, referred to
it. GBMD bears no resemblance to Pres-        North Pacific heading for the west coast       above as Integrated Tactical Warning
ident Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initia-      of the continent. The Americans see            and Attack Assessment (ITWAA). The
tive—the famous “Star Wars” program.          them coming and have to decide, on             latter, aerospace control, refers to moni-
                                              their own, whether to try to shoot them        toring and defending against attacks.
Participation in GBMD would not have          down and how many to go after. Let us          Under the current mission, NORAD
meant that Canada would have been             say that there are 10 interceptors ready       may warn of impending attack, but is
trapped into space-based missile defense      to fire in Alaska. Two of the North            unable to defend against it. But missile
systems. To suggest otherwise miscon-         Korean missiles look like they are going       defense is as natural an extension of
strues the role and structure of the US       to fall short of their targets and hit Brit-   missile warning as air defense is of air
combatant command system. Ground-             ish Columbia, Canada’s westernmost             warning. NORAD is thus the logical
based Midcourse Defense is designed to        province. The Americans don’t know if          home for GBMD because it is the logical
protect only North America and there-         the North Koreans have any additional          extension of the existing aerospace mis-
fore is assigned only to commands that        missiles in reserve.                           sion and would parallel the current air-
have the task of defending North Amer-                                                       space control and defense mission.
ica—currently Northern Command or             What do they do? Do they fire all the
NORTHCOM (the US-only command                 interceptors at all the incoming ICBMs         This is where the Canadian govern-
responsible for homeland defense). The        or just the ones heading towards the US        ment's indecisiveness and its refusal to
Integrated Tactical Warning and Attack        mainland? Do they keep some in reserve         take part in ballistic missile defense has
Assessment (ITWAA) of a potential             in case the North Koreans launch               harmed Canadian defense and sover-
ICBM launch is provided through bina-         another salvo?                                 eignty. After 9/11 political pressure in
tional NORAD. Greater Canadian par-                                                          the US to build the system quickly
ticipation might have meant that              If there were Canadians in the decision        resulted in GBMD being assigned to
GBMD would be moved to NORAD. In              loop, Canada would have a voice in             US-only Northern Command. In
contrast, any future space-based system       determining whether the Fort Greeley           response, in August 2004, Canada
would belong to US Strategic Com-             interceptors defend British Columbia as        amended the NORAD agreement to
mand, which is responsible for global         well as Oregon. With no Canadians              allow for Canadian support of GBMD
strategic (i.e., nuclear) strikes and mili-   there, the American choice is obvious,         through NORAD’s ITWAA mission.
tary space operations.                        and Canada is no safer because of it.          This amendment was a Band Aid solu-

10 |     Fraser        Forum
tion to prevent Canadians assigned to        could possibly be expanded in the future     moving missile defense from US North-
NORAD headquarters inside Cheyenne           to deal with maritime approaches and         ern Command back to NORAD. This
Mountain, Colorado, from being physi-        terrestrial threats, but its aerospace       will not happen now.
cally in the way of Americans charged        responsibilities (airspace plus outer
with operating the GBMD system. Had          space) will be gone. This is a major blow    The Americans do not need Canada on
it not been passed, Canada would have        to Canadian defense. NORAD provides          board, but they would certainly like it,
been unceremoniously removed from            many benefits, most of which result          as President Bush indicated most
the ITWAA function entirely. During          from the integration of Canadian and         recently in his 2004 Halifax speech.
the American election campaign, the          American personnel. This integration         Meanwhile, the US system is progress-
Bush administration certainly would          provides not only coordinated, rational,     ing at a cost to Canadian sovereignty
have been unwilling to face criticism        and effective continental monitoring         and a Canadian voice at the table of
that it had failed to build a missile        and defense capabilities, but also pro-      continental defense. There is no upside
defense system because of Canadian           vides Canada with tremendous access to       to this decision by the government of
pusillanimity. Hence, the August             resources, a seat at the American table,     Canada.
amendment.                                   and privileged access to information.

The result of GMBD being assigned to         Canada pays less than 10 percent of          References
Northern Command but leaving                 NORAD’s cost of operations, most of
ITWAA with NORAD is awkward. The             which is personnel salaries that would       Bland, Douglas, ed. (2003). Canada Without
                                                                                             Armed Forces? Kingston: McGill Queen’s
Americans have done so because               have to be paid anyway. In exchange,
                                                                                             University Press.
NORAD is good at warning and because         Canada gets 50 percent command and
they have been too busy setting up new       control of NORAD and retains full            Cooper, Barry, Mercedes Stephenson, and
                                                                                            Ray Szeto (2004). Canada’s Military Pos-
commands and departments (chiefly            national command of sovereign aero-
                                                                                            ture: An Analysis of Recent Civilian
NORTHCOM and the Department of               space. If—or more likely, when—                Reports. Fraser Institute Critical Issues
Homeland Security) to burden them-           NORAD’s aerospace warning mission is           Bulletin (January). Vancouver: The Fraser
selves with additional non-essential         moved to US Strategic Command, Can-            Institute.
shifts in command structure. But there       ada will have handed Canadian aero-          Government of Canada (1994). Defense
is no military rationale to separate         space defense over to the United States.       White Paper. Ottawa: Department of
warning and defense. Accordingly, after      The Americans will likely be courteous         National Defense.
the new command arrangements                 enough to continue consultations and         _____ (2004). Securing an Open Society:
become routine it makes sense to ratio-      provide some information, but Can-             Canada’s National Security Policy.
nalize them further and streamline bat-      ada’s national defense will be at the dis-     Ottawa: Government of Canada.
tle management by removing ITWAA             cretion of the United States. The            Granatstein, Jack L. (2004). Who Killed the
from NORAD and assigning it to               scenario outlined earlier highlights the       Canadian Military? Toronto: Harper Fla-
Northern Command. Since US Strategic         possible consequences of that. More            mingo.
Command is already capable of provid-        important, Canadians have deprived           Lagassé, Philipe (2005). “Matching Ends and
ing early warning and NORTHCOM has           themselves of the ability to elect those        Means in Canadian Defense.” In David
the mission to execute missile defense,      who make significant portions of their          Carment, Fen Osler Hampson, and Nor-
there is no military reason to retain mis-   defense policy.                                 man Hillmer, eds. Canada Among
sile warning within NORAD. All that                                                          Nations, 2004: Setting Priorities Straight.
                                                                                             Kingston: McGill Queen’s University
would be required to move ITWAA to           If, for some reason, the current arrange-
NORTHCOM would be to remove                  ment continues, Canadians in NORAD
Canadians from the Missile Correlation       can warn that missiles have been             Mason, Dwight (2003). Canada and the
                                                                                            Future of Continental Defense. Washing-
Center in Cheyenne Mountain.                 launched, but they can do nothing to
                                                                                            ton: Center for Strategic and Interna-
                                             control how the interception is handled,       tional Studies.
NORAD will not cease to exist, but its       regardless of whether or not it occurs
relevance will be reduced and Canada         over Canadian territory. It might have       Moens, Alex and Barry Cooper (2005).
                                                                                            Canadian Participation in North American
will lose its aerospace sovereignty.         been possible that greater and more            Missile Defense: A Cost-Benefit Analysis.
NORAD may well retain responsibility         public support for GBMD by the Cana-           Fraser Alert. Vancouver: The Fraser
for airspace monitoring and defense and      dian government could have resulted in         Institute. &

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