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The allocation of resources to national defence is a complicated process for liberal democracies at the best of times. During periods of prolonged peace, without an identifiable military threat to national security, it becomes even more difficult. The balance that must be struck between competing interests for scarce resources is not unlike an individual's consideration of how much insurance is enough for "just in case" situations. Even a thorough strategic-level analysis is often not enough to offset more narrow domestic political considerations. In Canada, this process is even more complicated. Canada sits astride the northern border of the world's only superpower, our largest trading partner, and a nation for whom it is a long-standing policy to consider Canada's security as part and parcel of its own. Determining how much to spend on defence and what kind of capability and force structure to maintain is even more complex. In a limited resource environment, the design of force structures and capabilities must achieve optimum efficiency in order to effectively deal with a broad range of contingencies.
In any analysis, Canada's security is inextricably bound to the maintenance of international stability. Within this context, the Canadian Forces (CF) must ensure its force posture provides the nation with the military capabilities needed to address the emerging trends of the international system. Any assessment of the kinds of military forces required must take into consideration a wide variety of influences, from domestic political factors to developments within allied and like-minded nations. With due consideration of such factors as the uncertainty of the emerging world order, foreign policy interests, the trend towards multi-national operations, force-projection, and the rapid response requirement in contingency operations, the CF force structure must support a wide range of operational capabilities. However, the Army, particularly the Armour Corps, is not organized to support this critical requirement. The present structure and equipment limitations of the three armoured regiments do not permit the employment of a coherent, multipurpose, unit-level combat capability throughout the spectrum of conflict. Therefore, in order to maximise operational capabilities within a limited resource environment, the Army should establish a light cavalry regiment (LCR) (1) within the Armour Corps to provide rapid and flexible response options for a wide range of operational contingencies.
In arguing the case for the establishment of a battalion-size LCR, there is no intent to compound the problem by advocating the procurement of systems or the fielding of an organization that is beyond the Army's present or expected resource levels. It is also beyond the scope of this article to delve into the organizational minutia of a LCR. Instead, a discussion of the general organizational concept and the variety of roles that a LCR could perform will be presented in order to demonstrate its flexibility, employability, and relevance. Following a brief analysis of the current Land Force structure, it will be shown that the Army currently possesses the resources necessary to field such an organization. Given the imposed limits of this article, the issue of Canadian doctrine development to support the employment of a LCR will not be discussed, as this is regarded as a non-issue in the author's opinion. (2) As well, such details as the Armour Corps and Army end-states (which units would field what equipment) and the potential impacts on specific brigades will not be discussed except where they are broadly tied to the establishment of the LCR.
CANADA AND THE EMERGING WORLD ORDER
The global security environment continues to be free from risk of war between major powers but the situation in many areas remains unstable and unpredictable. Conflicts exist within and between states as a result of ethnic, boundary and resource disputes, extremism, and severe economic or demographic stresses. In certain regions, notably Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, there is a volatile mix of social, demographic, economic, and political conditions that stand in stark contrast to the global trends of democratisation and economic reform. (3)
The Post Cold War era has unleashed the seemingly contradictory global trends of integration and fragmentation. (4) This emerging world order has seen a proliferation of democracies with market-oriented economies. Traditional multi-national organizations have been joined by a variety of new structures in the fields of information and communications, business, and the environment, to name but a few. Arguably, these new forces of integration have introduced fundamental changes to the traditional concepts of sovereignty and security. As events in Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Albania, and Kosovo have demonstrated, the increasing degree of interdependence and interconnectivity around the world means that onceisolated events are now capable of destabilizing the world political and economic systems. Consequently, this trend constitutes an unprecedented threat to international stability. As a counterpoint to integration, fragmentation has seen a proliferation of regional, often ethnic-based conflicts. The optimistic, even euphoric tones of peace at the beginning of the 1990s have given way to the reality that the world is now a more dangerous place, drifting in unpredictable directions. (5) A 1998 annual survey of 192 nations conducted by the National Defence Council Foundation noted that the 60 ongoing conflicts (with just over 20 involving major combat) represented a decrease of seven from 1997. (6) However, this still represented nearly double the total of 35 conflicts reported in 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down. The Soviet Bloc and the rigid bipolar world may have collapsed; but a new system is only beginning to emerge with all of its uncertainties. (7)
In considering various government initiatives over the past 40 years, one could argue that Canadian foreign policy has been remarkably consistent from a macro perspective. Semantics have changed periodically, as have perhaps relative priorities, but the underlying theme of international stability has remained constant. The primary three objectives of Canadian foreign policy are straightforward and unquestionably interrelated: firstly, the promotion of prosperity and employment; secondly, the protection of our security within a stable global framework; and lastly, the projection of Canadian values. (8) Canada is a nation heavily dependent on external trade for economic prosperity and, at the same time, is locked in an asymmetrical relationship with the US. In the final analysis, the promotion of global peace--the key element of Canada's foreign policy (9)--is essential to prosperity in this complex security environment. Canada will, no doubt, remain actively engaged throughout the world, particularly in any situation that threatens …