SOF for sale: The Canadian Forces and the challenge of privatized security

SOF for sale: The Canadian Forces and the challenge of privatized security

Symbol of the Government of Canada National Defence

National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces

Special forces

U.S. Air Force Photo 030131-O-9999J-007 by Tech. Sgt. Michael Featherston

A special forces tactical air control party training in full gear on Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina. They work in conjunction with special forces around the world.

by Christopher Spearin


In the 21st Century, despite a history of ad hoc reactions and indifference, Canada has certainly entered the elite ranks of the world’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) community.1 The December 2001 federal budget allocated an additional C$119 million to Joint Task Force 2 (JTF 2), Canada’s Tier One SOF organization, in order to double its capacity by increasing its ranks to as many as 600 frontline personnel. JTF 2’s traditional counter terrorism responsibilities, or “black” operations, have grown alongside “green” operations (i.e., direct action and unconventional warfare missions) in countries such as Afghanistan. Additionally, in January 2006, the government announced the creation of a 750-strong special operations regiment to conduct Tier Two/Tier Three-type SOF activities. Complementing all of these developments was the standing up, on 1 February 2006, of the Canadian Special Operations Force Command, with responsibility to conduct either supported or supporting operations. As a result, SOF personnel arguably have become the Canadian Forces’ (CF) fourth service.

Now that Canada, through its financial commitments, military operations, and personnel increases, has identified the important contribution of SOF, the challenge will be twofold: to maintain a robust SOF capability in a relatively small military and to massage a variety of concerns likely to be held by the army, the navy, and the air force regarding “the new kid on the block.” Unfortunately, these challenges will likely be heightened by the increased attractiveness of this more prominent and larger SOF pool to international private security companies (PSCs).2 Currently, the United States and the United Kingdom, even with their larger force structures, are feeling the strain caused by the drain of SOF expertise to the private sector. In Iraq alone, there are some 20,000 PSC employees, and a significant number of them possess SOF experience. This number reflects anecdotal assertions that Iraqi PSC service constitutes the largest reunion of American SOF personnel in history, and that there are more former British Special Air Service (SAS) personnel in Iraq than there are those currently serving in uniform.3 As for the CF, though official numbers have not been released, it has already lost valuable SOF personnel, thus reinforcing the CF view that, “[t]he world-renowned reputation of JTF 2 as a SOF…unit has drawn attention from many of these security firms.”4

This article will assert that augmented attention will continue, due to the SOF-focus of many PSCs, and the fact that there are considerable political and military limitations in formulating a Canadian response. Although the CF can utilize some means to overcome these limitations, those means are not likely to be entirely satisfactory. Therefore, the article will suggest further that an additional appropriate measure would be for the government to lobby the United States for support, given its heavy influence upon the international private security industry.

SOF and PSCs

While the advent of PSCs is generally linked to the end of the Cold War, precursor firms did exist, and they were largely based upon SOF credentials. The Scottish laird Sir David Stirling, instrumental in the July 1941 creation of the SAS, later formed the company Watchguard International in 1967. This company, once described as the “civilian branch” of the SAS, provided security analyses, military training, and personal protection services to government clients in Africa and the Middle East.5 Alastair Morrison, another former SAS operator, founded Defence Systems Limited (DSL) in 1981. Morrison’s SAS career was distinguished by his participation alongside German SOF in the successful storming of a hijacked Lufthansa passenger aircraft in Mogadishu on 17 October 1977. Within the private sphere, Morrison organized DSL with a mandate to harness SOF expertise “by ensuring that an internationally-recognised company would be waiting to hire former military personnel into legitimate contracts as security consultants, military trainers, or support commercial enterprises with assets in regions of conflicts.”6

Contemporary US PSCs also highlight their SOF pedigree. Additionally, for instance, former US Navy SEAL personnel created and largely staff the company Blackwater USA. Triple Canopy stresses that its “[o]perators have an average of more than 20 years in the most elite military Special Operations units and are the highest quality personnel in the industry…We have more former Tier One special operations professionals than any organization other than the US Military.”7 Similarly, Meyer & Associates indicates that its employees are “specially trained ex-military personnel from US Army Special Forces, Rangers, Intelligence Operators, Marine Recon, Navy and Coast Guard Waterborne Operators.”8

While it is important to recognize that not all PSCs are stocked with SOF expertise, one can argue that there are three particular reasons why former SOF personnel are attractive to PSCs.

First, most PSCs are “virtual” in the sense that they possess very small permanent staffs. PSCs, therefore, rely upon rosters of retired military personnel from which they draw their required manpower. While some PSCs do openly solicit employment applications, much sourcing comes from informal networks amongst retirees, and from between the private and public spheres. Because many PSCs are started by former SOF personnel, and because of the close bonds that exist particularly amongst those of the SOF community, due to their common training and experiences, the SOF character evident in many PSCs is understandable.

Second, because there are no consistent and rigorous qualitative standards regarding PSC personnel at the domestic level, let alone internationally, the presence of SOF expertise largely suffices as the qualitative seal of approval. While certainly also present in conventional forces, SOF, in a generic sense, offer attributes appealing to the private sector such as language abilities, cultural appreciation, flexibility, and adaptability. Moreover, SOF serve as a “leadership nursery,” because, as described by Colonel Bernd Horn, currently the Deputy Commander of Special Operations Forces Command, SOF personnel, “have the opportunity to learn additional skills, particularly advanced leadership abilities due to their exposure to different training and operational experiences, as well as exposure to different, often more experienced, mature, highly skilled personnel.”9 While Horn suggests that SOF personnel might later return to conventional units, and thus spread the benefits of their expertise, one can contend that this expertise could also be disseminated in the private sphere instead. This is certainly recognized by a senior enlisted advisor at the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Master Sergeant Robert Martens Jr.: “What makes them [SOF personnel] so valuable to us makes them highly marketable on the outside.”10

Third, and related to marketability, the presence of SOF expertise serves as a valuable tool for PSC advertising. From conducting high profile “SCUD-busting operations” in the 1990-1991 Persian Gulf War, to serving successfully as force multipliers alongside anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan, the importance of SOF has been publicly identified by prominent government officials.11 As Elliot Cohen attests, this sort of recognition is not startling during times of crisis because, “it is then that the public searches for heroes and politicians look for panaceas.”12 To date, SOF have largely sufficed in this role, a point reinforced by the generally positive portrayal of SOF in popular entertainment.13 Contemporary PSCs, therefore, can tap into the SOF mystique in order to sell their services. In fact, this is in keeping with the experience accrued by earlier firms. Because of the recognized elite status of forces such as the SAS, Middle Eastern and African clients valued their hiring of Watchguard International as a “mark of prestige,” especially given their earlier status as British colonies or protectorates.14

Special forces

NATO photo KDG040910

Spanish and Greek special forces teams worked together in a live-fire exercise. The troops exchange weapons so that they can familiarize themselves with the weaponry of other NATO countries. A Spanish soldier uses a Greek M-16 rifle, and, behind him, a Greek soldier tries out a Spanish G36E rifle.

Limitations Due to the SOF Drain

Other factors, beyond numerical augmentation, will likely increase the attractiveness of Canadian SOF to private industry. Although Canadian SOF have been criticized in the past for their lack of experience, due to, for instance, Canada’s peacekeeping traditions and its lack of colonial experiences, the ongoing operational tempo serves to reduce substantially this learning curve.15 In this regard, Colonel Horn makes plain SOF’s current importance vis-à-vis conventional capabilities with respect to the terrorist and insurgent threat: “Faced with an elusive foe that relies on dispersion, complex terrain, and asymmetric tactics, political and military decision-makers recognized that only a flexible, adaptive and agile response (i.e., SOF operations) would suffice.”16 Canada’s reliance upon the CF’s SOF assets, therefore, serves to make Canadian SOF a known, respected, and marketable commodity. Moreover, because Canadian SOF operators often train alongside and conduct operations with foreign SOF, this further draws Canadians into the larger SOF network, both in and out of uniform. Given the Bush Administration’s decision in January 2003 to assign USSOCOM the primary responsibility for prosecuting the “Global War on Terrorism,” this interaction and growth in relationships is likely to continue.

Clearly, a reduced Canadian SOF capability, despite hoped-for expansion, would pose several difficulties at different levels. As Colonel Horn observes: “Properly used, small, highly trained specialized units can give even a small state a deterrent power and military and political influence far in excess of that which the simply physical size of its armed forces might suggest.”17 Limited capabilities, therefore, would constrain Canada’s ability to contribute to a “SOF War” and thus have influence regarding policy. It would similarly reduce political capital Canada might accrue from other countries, particularly the United States.18

What is more, limited Canadian SOF abilities would restrict the particular activism of Canada’s executive branch of government. The increased centralization of government in Canada has long been noted, and, as identified by analysts such as Cohen and Deborah Avant, the manner by which the political control of violence is managed can further alter the distribution of power amongst governing institutions.19 In the particular case of SOF, because of the secrecy that often surrounds their operations and how they frequently relate directly to the achievement of strategic objectives, those in the highest echelons of government become the focus. Indeed, analysis of past operations finds that decisions to employ Canadian SOF helpfully work to deter criticism of government policy emanating domestically or internationally.20 However, the political elasticity of Canadian SOF would become brittle because of an increased brain/brawn drain to the private sector.

Special forces

Photo by Jay Helberg

5th Group, US Special Forces in Iraq.

Challenges in Handling the SOF Drain

There will not be straightforward or “silver bullet” solutions regarding how to keep Canadian SOF capability in uniform. Simply increasing SOF intake, whether for JTF 2 or the nascent special operations regiment, will not be the sole effective answer. Indeed, significant challenges exist in this regard. From one standpoint, rapidly increased intake contradicts the so-called four “enduring truths” of SOF, namely: “Humans are more important than hardware. Quality is better than quantity. Special Operations Forces cannot be mass-produced. Competent SOF cannot be created after emergencies occur.”21 Altering the SOF acceptance rate, which is usually between 10 and 30 percent, depending upon the SOF tier at hand, threatens existing qualitative standards. Already, concerns exist about the CF’s ability to maintain SOF standards in order to double JTF 2’s capabilities.22 Even the current Defence Minister, Gordon O’Conner, when he served as opposition defence critic, cast doubt upon whether Canada possessed the ability to maintain the requisite SOF skills and standards, when he opined: “Is the Canadian military big enough to get that much talent? I don’t know the answer to that.”23

From another standpoint, because current Canadian policy is not to recruit SOF personnel directly “from the street,” the navy, the air force, and especially the army, given that it supplies most SOF recruits, would likely be hesitant to embrace plans that would deplete their ranks, even with the Harper government’s wish to increase overall CF membership. A greater and quickly applied emphasis on SOF, if not handled delicately, serves to create potentially a substantial rift between the conventional and unconventional elements within the CF. The end result would likely favour the former if Colonel J. Paul de B. Taillon’s warning observation is to be taken into account: “[W]e [the CF] are a conventional force steeped in a conventional military culture, with its attendant views and opinions.”24

But more controversial is that SOF, historically, are known to attract individuals who display great potential and ability from (and at the expense of) the conventional forces. For example, military historian Philip Warner contends that SOF volunteers “are the most enterprising, energetic and least dispensable” and Field Marshal Viscount Slim accused SOF of “skimming the cream” from conventional forces.25 Thus, one argument is that JTF 2, following its inception in April 1993, served to draw quality personnel away from the Canadian Airborne Regiment.26 It is also important to recall views held by senior CF leadership as late as 1999 that Canada did not possess “special forces,” in part out of the fear that such recognition would heighten the attraction of SOF, and implicitly would deem the rest of the CF as unexceptional.27

Heightening the “value” of uniformed service in a number of ways will also not remedy the situation fully. In 2006, financial compensation allowances for JTF 2, dictated by the level of risk, working conditions, seniority, and skill sets were increased for the first time since 1997. For instance, the annual allowance for JTF 2 assaulters, the “sharpest point of Canada’s SOF spear,” rose from C$21,756 to C$25,260. This development built upon a CF report issued in 2004 that examined increasing SOF remuneration in order to encourage retention.28 Nevertheless, on a dollar-per-dollar basis, public expenditures are not likely to be plentiful enough to counter salaries offered in the private sphere. Under the terms of some contracts in Iraq, for example, PSC personnel stand to receive daily payments of between US$800 and US$1000.

Other benefits of public service are also not as robust in ensuring retention. CF officials have emphasized some benefits seemingly not available in the private sphere, such as pensions and insurance.29 However, in the US, where the issue of SOF retention has been studied more publicly, it is the senior SOF operators, those with earned pensions, who have been attracted to private industry. Additionally, depending upon the PSC, the financial attraction has been ameliorated by the introduction of robust insurance plans. Finally, attention paid to the values of national service versus private employment presents limitations given the “creeping occupationalism,” rather than institutionalism, that is thought to exist in the Canadian Forces.30 For Charles Moskos, this represents the difference between value orientations and rational calculations, between “the intrinsic motivation of an institution with the extrinsic motivation of an occupation.”31 This situation is not unique to Canada. In the United Kingdom, some argue that, “[i]t’s a money-driven culture now and a lot of young troopers are treating the SAS as a training school for their private careers.”32 In fact, if present patterns in the US currently hold and spread to Canada, the institutional/occupational line is becoming more and more blurred because of the increased recognition the state is giving to PSC personnel, especially those that have died, through honouring them and through highlighting their patriotism.

Special forces

U.S. Air Force Photo 030412-F-1644L-005
by Staff Sgt. Jeremy T. Lock

A Special Operations Forces (SOF) High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV, or HUMVEE) moves through west Baghdad. SOF soldiers were patrolling the outer perimeter to provide security for a local hospital in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

Regulation and Control

Suggested forms of Canadian regulation are only in their nascent stages, and they relate more to the normative and human rights impact of privately supplied security sector expertise, rather than to specifically managing the flow of Canadian personnel from the public to private spheres per se. As Lieutenant-Colonel David Last warns, “[i]t is not just a question of autonomy and efficiency for the state. The state must consider regulation of the private capacity for special operations, which might be misused in a global marketplace.”33 While not wishing to underplay the importance of these factors, they are understandable. This is because of the legacy of the human security agenda that still informs many activities at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. As well, it acknowledges enduring concerns about national image and respect for human rights, matters that first came to the fore in the wake of the Somalia Inquiry, and that continue today in such cases as the appropriate handling of combatants captured during anti-terrorist/insurgent operations.

The complete prohibition of CF SOF joining PSCs would not be helpful. Ethically, it would most likely draw into question former operators’ protections under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Practically, it would be difficult given the transnational personnel sourcing of the PSC industry, and the limitations of extraterritoriality. Even in earlier times, the control of manpower proved difficult for Ottawa. In 1937, Prime Minister Mackenzie King’s government created the Canadian Foreign Enlistment Act (FEA) in order to prevent Canadian participation in the Spanish Civil War. During that conflict, no state provided more foreign fighters per capita than did Canada.34 However, the act’s ineffectiveness was made plain since over half the 1200 Canadians that travelled to Spain did so after the FEA became law. In the present day, US experience has demonstrated that “stop loss programs” designed to prevent retirement of personnel deemed essential have been both unpopular and the subject of criticism, ranging from accusations of an unofficial draft through to servitude. As for managing PSCs, there are very few Canadian PSCs, let alone those that draw regularly from Canadian SOF assets. For the most part, Canada serves as a feeder country for firms with greater presence and marketshare located in other countries, particularly in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Because of these limitations, one can argue that a more productive undertaking would be for the Canadian government to lobby Washington in order to implement controls dealing with the qualitative standards of the PSC industry. In part, this argument can be made because many Canadians are hired by US-based PSCs. More important, however, is the place of the US in the broader PSC industry. Conclusions reached by political scientist Deborah Avant point towards this issue: “Indeed, the overwhelming dominance of the US in defense spending suggests that other governments will have only limited consumer impact on the behaviour of PSCs. Regulation by other governments is likely to yield less satisfaction unless they step up their consumption of security services.”35 With respect to Canada, it is unlikely that the nation will become a dominant player in the international marketplace for PSC services in the near future.

President Karzai

AP Photo/Shah Marai, Pool

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, centre, is surrounded by heavily armed bodyguards as he arrives for a groundbreaking ceremony in Parwan, some 55 kilometres north of Kabul, Monday, 14 March 2005.

To expand, it is true that, on one hand, PSCs are a component of larger international trends that feature “the erosion of Westphalian norms, the spread of neoliberal economic tendencies, especially the privatization of services, and the globalization of production of goods and services.”36 The assumption here, however, is that the effects and implications of private security are even and the same the world over in terms of control, or the lack thereof. On the other hand, with respect to developed world states, particularly the United States, PSCs are frequently the tools of statecraft. This falls in line with arguments made by the likes of Hans Morgenthau, Kenneth Waltz, and John Mearsheimer that powerful states in the international system are not only affected by global phenomena differently, they can to a certain extent shape these phenomena to their benefit.37 Thus, Norrin Ripsman and T.V. Paul assert, “It is not whether the new challenges of globalization will overwhelm the state but in what ways will they alter the state and what mechanisms will the state use to adapt to global social forces while retaining its centrality.”38

For the US, because it is a major client of the international PSC industry, it possesses significant influence in terms of “the market’s ecology.”39 Alongside the SOF credentials of PSC founders and managers, the substantial purchasing of PSC services by the US has served to reinforce SOF capabilities as the gold standard for private industry. This is because the US – the demand side – has largely ignored the role it plays with respect to determining the nature of the supply side – the qualifications and capabilities of PSCs. For example, in the case of Iraq, while some of the tasks performed by PSC personnel relate directly to SOF expertise, such as close protection, other tasks such as security advising, static protection, and convoy duties do not necessarily fall directly or solely into the SOF realm. Former SOF personnel, nevertheless, are performing them for PSCs. This is not necessarily the most beneficial use of SOF expertise, but by the US simply purchasing what the marketplace has to offer, largely dictated by the nature of the PSCs themselves, this serves as “the mechanism through which the preferred model of professionalism is communicated.”40

In order to communicate better to PSCs, and therefore alleviate and de-emphasize the importance of SOF, there are two methods, possibly advanced by Canadian prodding, that the US might consider. One approach is to make a concerted effort to hire PSCs that either do not predominantly display their SOF credentials, or perhaps do not rely significantly upon retired SOF expertise. Similarly, a closer examination might be made of the actual abilities required for contracted tasks; SOF expertise may not be needed. The second and more expansive method would be qualitative regulations for US-based PSCs, put in place by the US government regarding the standards for PSC personnel. These standards would stress professionalism, capability, and respect for human rights norms, but they would not imply that the necessary qualifications are found predominantly amongst those with SOF experience. Because the US forms such a great portion of the international marketplace, it is likely that PSCs in other countries would follow suit in tailoring their marketing and personnel capabilities in order to enhance their commercial attractiveness. The overall goal, therefore, would be to make SOF seem less “special” in the private sphere.

One can argue that such a lobbying approach, if performed by Canada, might be well received in the US. As indicated earlier, USSOCOM has been feeling the negative effects of the shift of expertise to PSCs. Although the Pentagon has instituted new retention measures similar to the allowances and bonuses mentioned above, the expertise drain continues. Moreover, the effects of this drain might become more acute, given the weight of value placed upon SOF in the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review: a 15 percent increase in SOF forces, with particular emphasis upon increasing the number of operators for the US Army Special Forces and the US Navy SEALS. While US measures to date have largely focused upon ensuring that SOF personnel remain in uniform, more attention can be paid to the marketplace in which they operate, should they decide to leave the US military. Although certainly not a panacea, such attention also would help the CF in managing and maintaining its SOF expertise.


Based upon the foregoing analysis, some issues come to the fore that policymakers and future analysts might wish to consider. First, because of its emphasis upon developing qualitative standards that de-emphasize SOF expertise, this study implies that private manpower should be derived more consistently from state security sectors in the larger sense. Even though earlier analysis has determined that PSCs are here to stay due to supply, demand, and ideational factors, the PSC industry is still a delicate matter for political and normative reasons, and it will have to be treated accordingly.41 As such, one future thrust of inquiry will be why, when, and under what conditions Canada officially elects to manage more closely privately controlled security sector expertise that is based in Canada and that is exported internationally. Second, and in a related fashion, it will be important to examine how the Canadian populace might respond, and what impact this would have politically, to changes regarding Canadian security sector expertise. For instance, the activities of SOF and conventional units in Afghanistan already challenge traditional views of the CF (i.e., the peacekeeping myth). It is important to recall that as late as the 1990s, senior CF officials referred to some JTF 2 operations as merely “very benign observer-type missions.”42 The fact that the government chose, in 2005, to lift slightly the veil of secrecy covering JTF 2’s Afghan operations underscores government sensitivity regarding the perception of Canadians.43 Emphasis placed, not only upon SOF, but also upon Canadian PSC personnel, who, perhaps for some Canadians, constitute nothing more than mercenaries in the most pejorative sense, would pose further challenges for the government.

Overall, it is intriguing to see how the “fortunes” of both SOF and PSCs have grown since the end of the Cold War, and particularly since the terrorist events of 11 September 2001. In their own different ways, they have served the “security marketplace” characterized by terrorism and insurgency. It is not surprising that some states, particularly the US, want to rely more upon these public and private assets. In the process, however, because of the limited and overlapping manpower pool, strains will result and challenges will be presented to feeder states such as Canada, just as the CF is attempting to increase its own SOF capabilities. While there is no easy solution to this dilemma, the aforementioned suggestions developed in this article might hopefully reduce the possibly looming necessity of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

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Doctor Spearin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Defence Studies and Deputy Director of Research at the Canadian Forces College. His work, which pertains to defence policy and the privatization of security, has been published in a variety of prestigious forums.


  1. For a history of Canada’s experience with SOF, see Sean M. Maloney, “Who has Seen the Wind? An Historical Overview of Canadian Special Operations,” Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 2004, pp. 39-48.
  2. For this article, the term private security company (PSC), rather than private military company, is employed because companies conduct a hybrid of policing and military tasks. This is in light of the environments in which these companies are frequently employed (conflict/violence prone weak states in the developing world) and the actual effects the companies may have in these environments. Moreover, the main goal in all cases is to make something or someone more secure. As such, the term PSC is more appropriate in the cumulative sense.
  3. James Dao, “The Struggle for Iraq: Security,” in New York Times, 2 April 2004, p. A1; Thomas Catan and Stephen Fidler, “The military can’t provide security,” in Financial Times, 29 September 2003, at <http://>.
  4. Cited in David Pugliese, “Soldiers of Fortune,” in Ottawa Citizen, 12 November 2005, p. A17.
  5. Anthony Mockler, The New Mercenaries (London: Sidgwick & Jackson Limited, 1985), p. 151; Wilfred Burchett and Derek Roebuck, The Whores of War (London: Pelican Special, 1977), p. 166.
  6. Kevin A. O’Brien, “PMCs, Myths, and Mercenaries: the debate on private military companies,” in Royal United Service Institute Journal, Vol. 145, No. 1, February 2000, p. 61.
  7. Cited in < oid/0/Article.4402>.
  8. See <>
  9. Bernd Horn, “The Dark Side to Elites: Elitism as a Catalyst for Disobedience,” in Canadian Army Journal, Vol. 8, No. 4, Winter 2005, p. 71.
  10. Cited in Pauline Jelinek, “Many Elite Soldiers Leave for Better Pay,” in The Guardian, 20 July 2004.
  11. See, for example, Donald H. Rumsfeld, “Transforming the Military,” in Foreign Affairs, Vol. 81, No. 3, May/June 2002, pp. 20-32.
  12. Eliot A. Cohen, Commandos and Politicians: Elite Military Units in Modern Democracies (Cambridge: Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 1978), pp. 95-96.
  13. Note recent productions such as The Rock, E Ring, Tears of the Sun, and Transporter. Older productions include The Green Berets, The Guns of Navarone, and Where Eagles Dare.
  14. Mockler, p. 149.
  15. For one such criticism, see David Pugliese, “JTF2 not ready for Afghan duty: expert,” in Ottawa Citizen, 22 November 2001, p. A1. See also Maloney.
  16. Bernd Horn, “When Cultures Collide: The Conventional Military/SOF Chasm,” in Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 2004, p. 6.
  17. Bernd Horn, “Special Men, Special Missions: The Utility of Special Operations Force – A Summation,” in Bernd Horn, J. Paul B. Taillon, and David Last, (eds.), Force of Choice: Perspectives on Special Operations (Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2004), p. 20.
  18. The political and diplomatic benefits of Canadian SOF are described in Jamie Hammond, “Special Operations Forces: Relevant, Ready and Precise,” in Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 2003, pp. 17-28; Bernard J. Brister, “Canadian Special Operations Forces: A Blueprint for the Future,” in Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 5, No. 3, Autumn 2004, pp. 29-37.
  19. See Cohen, p. 70; Deborah Avant, “The Privatization of Security and Change in the Control of Force,” in International Studies Perspectives, Vol. 5, No. 2, May 2004, p. 156. Regarding the centralization of power in Canada, see Donald J. Savoie, Governing From the Centre: The Concentration of Power in Canadian Politics (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999); Jeffrey Simpson, The Friendly Dictatorship (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., 2001).
  20. An example of this analysis can be found in David Pugliese, Canada’s Secret Commandos: The Unauthorized Story of Joint Task Force Two (Ottawa: Esprit de Corps Books, 2002), pp. 118-121.
  21. Robert D. Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: The American Military on the Ground (New York: Random House, Inc., 2005), p. 191.
  22. Bruce Garvey, “Forces struggling to find 600 soldiers good enough to serve in crack JTF 2 unit,” in Ottawa Citizen, 24 October 2003, p. A1.
  23. Cited in David Pugliese, “Military creates new special forces unit,” in Ottawa Citizen, 4 January 2006, p. A1.
  24. J. Paul de B. Taillon, “Canadian Special Operations Forces: Transforming Paradigms,” in Canadian Military Journal, Vol. 6, No. 4, Winter 2005-2006, p. 75.
  25. Cited in Horn, “When Cultures Collide,” p. 6.
  26. Pugliese, Canada’s Secret Commandos, p. 121.
  27. David Last, “Special Operations Forces in Conventional Armies: ‘Salvation Army?’ or ‘Dirty Dozen’?” in Bernd Horn, J. Paul B. Taillon, and David Last, eds., Force of Choice: Perspectives on Special Operations (Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2004), p. 36, p. 57.
  28. Stephanie Rubec, “Elite soldiers drained,” 25 April 2005, at <>; David Pugliese, “Special forces get pay raise,” in National Post, 26 August 2006, p. A4.
  29. Rubec, “Elite soldiers drained.”
  30. Noel Iverson, “Military Leadership and Change in the 1990’s,” at <>.
  31. Charles C. Moskos and Frank R. Wood, “Introduction,” in Charles C. Moskos and Frank R. Wood, (eds.), The Military: More Than Just a Job? (Washington: Pergamon-Brassey’s International Defense Publishers, 1988), pp. 4-5.
  32. “British SAS mull bonus to halt exodus,” Agence France-Presse, 15 February 2005, at <,10117,12253024-1702,00.html>.
  33. David Last, “Epilogue: The Next Generation of ‘Special Operations’?” in Bernd Horn, J. Paul B. Taillon, and David Last, (eds.), Force of Choice: Perspectives on Special Operations (Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2004), p. 208.
  34. Victor Hoar, The Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion (Toronto: Copp Clark, 1969), p. 1.
  35. Deborah Avant, The Market for Force: The Consequences of Privatizing Security (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 177.
  36. See Dan Hellinger, “NGOs and the Privatization of the Military,” in Refugee Survey Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 4, December 2004, pp. 192-220.
  37. Hans J. Morgenthau, Politics Among Nations: The Struggle for Power and Peace, Seventh Edition (Montreal: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2006); Kenneth N. Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishers, 1979); John J. Mearsheimer, The Tragedy of Great Power Politics (New York: Norton, 2001).
  38. Norrin M. Ripsman and T.V. Paul, “Globalization and the National Security State: A Framework for Analysis,” in International Studies Review, Vol. 7, No. 2, June 2005, p. 224.
  39. Avant, The Market for Force, p. 220.
  40. Ibid., p. 226.
  41. See Peter W. Singer, Corporate Warriors: The Rise of the Privatized Military Industry (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2003).
  42. Cited in Pugliese, Canada’s Secret Commandos, p. 11.
  43. One such “trial balloon” can be found in Stephen Thorne, “Canadian commandos taking out Taliban,” in Globe and Mail, 17 September 2005, p. A13.
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