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CHAPTER 7: From Cold War to Present Day

Unification (7 pages)

Hellyer’s Integration of the Three Services

The new defence minister, Paul Hellyer, therefore decided it was time for another white paper (the previous one dated from 1959), which was tabled in Parliament on 26 March 1964. This white paper argued that for all practical purposes Canada was unlikely to undergo direct attack and that its defence policy should maintain a focus on collective security through a system of alliances and participation in peacekeeping operations. It concluded that well-equipped, mobile troops under a single, unified command would better serve Canadian interests.

Taking as essential an effective system of operational control and the need to simplify administrative procedures and cut general administration costs, the white paper held that there was only one satisfactory solution: the integration of Canada's Armed Forces under a single Chief of Defence Staff and a single Defence Headquarters. This decision would mark the first stage in the creation of a unified defence force for Canada. [89]

Shortly after tabling the white paper, the minister submitted Bill C-90, which was passed on 7 July and came into force on 1 August 1964. As of June 1965 a new Chief of Staff would head all of Canada’s military forces, backed by a general headquarters that was integrated and restructured to reflect six so-called functional commands - replacing the 11 previous ones. "Functional" described a command that was non-geographic, beyond any particular element or traditional arm. The "military base" became the focus of administrative support at the local level, providing all necessary services to "lodger" units - including those that came under a command other than the one governing the base. In addition, regional responsibilities were assigned to the main functional commands, especially with regard to civilian personnel, cadets and the control of civil disturbances.

This 1964-67 integration phase caused little controversy. It was viewed primarily as administrative reorganizing that would not affect units directly. The Forces, although losing their chiefs and privileged direct access to the minister, legally survived the change. This top-down integration was more complete and effective than the attempts made at the lower levels between 1947 and 1964.

The restructuring of the military headquarters had little impact on the Deputy Minister's Division. Although the deputy minister's responsibilities remained the same, the role was slightly changed: The deputy minister would henceforth be one of two advisors to the minister, the other being the Chief of Staff.

The 1964 defence white paper and Bill C-90 carried the seeds of unification. With the abolition of the chief of staff position in each of the three arms, the creation of a general chief of staff position and the consolidation in one headquarters of planning, personnel, administration, training, logistical support, and command and control, the notion of the three arms as separate entities became outdated.