From Cold War to Present Day


Support Services Integrated

In the period 1947-51, however, some advances were made. Dental services were integrated in 1947, though it would be another 11 years before the process was complete, and in 1951 the medical service began making the move towards eventual consolidation (1959). The Defence Research Council was also created. The Royal Military College in Kingston was reopened to serve all three forces. Royal Roads Military College in Victoria and the bilingual Collège militaire royal in St Jean, Quebec, would later be founded and, from the beginning, receive officer cadets and officers from all three forces. The legal and chaplaincy services were also integrated in the main headquarters, along with functions like payroll and catering. The position of Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee finally materialized in 1951, in response to needs created by the Korean War and the organizational requirements of NATO, which held regular conferences of member countries' chiefs of staff or their committee chairmen.

In the years 1951-61 the integrating impetus subsided. This could be called a period of digestion or consolidation. Numerous joint committees functioned in the main headquarters, but they remained centres for information rather than for co-ordination or unification. A Royal Commission on Government Organization was established in 1961, chaired by J. Grant Glassco. Its report, submitted in 1962, provided solid reasons for greater integration of functions common to the three forces but avoided making specific recommendations.

The Pearson government came to power in 1963 and ordered a review of Canada's entire defence policy, whose weak links had contributed to the fall of the Diefenbaker government. Questions concerned the cost of military equipment, the Canada-U.S. defence relationship, especially the issue of air defence, and, finally, the nuclear issue (having opted out of the nuclear club, was Canada still obliged to accept or use American nuclear weapons?). The need to economize was also being made painfully clear, yet the forces had to be re-equipped. The proportion of the military budget used for equipment procurement had plummeted from 42.9 percent in 1954 to 13.3 percent in 1963. At this rate, by 1966 other defence expenditures would absorb all the funds available for new acquisitions.

The Glassco Commission had indicated the need to rationalize not only departmental spending but also duplication, even triplication, in the services. It noted the weak role played by civilians, especially the deputy minister, at national headquarters, and argued the need to review regulations that were impeding the transfer of skilled personnel from one force to another.