From Cold War to Present Day


The 1980 Review and Prognosis

The report was, however, submitted to the newly elected Liberal government, which called for an immediate review. On 31 August 1980 the review concluded that the task force had not reached a verdict on unification as such and that its 30 recommendations were based on the principle of improving existing central institutions, inferring that the unification policy should remain in force. 91

The Conservatives, returning to office in 1984, did nothing about unification, and white papers in 1987 and 1994 would not call centralization into question. Since 1980 the commanders of the commands have been sitting on the Defence Council and the Defence Military Committee, and since 1985 members of the military have once more been wearing three distinctive uniforms. Far from signalling a return to the past or the disunification or disintegration of the Canadian Forces, these changes reflect the flexibility and adaptability the military and civil authorities have been able to find in the face of the problems inherent in creating an organizational structure that is unique in the world.

The long process of integration and unification comprised three phases: the first was administrative, the second had to do with command and control of the armed forces, and the third was bureaucratic amalgamation as a government agency. This centralization is finding a place in the history of a relatively young country at a point when it is defining itself in the context of national unity while at the same time dealing with the problems of acquiring expensive military equipment when not under any external threat.