Out of Darkness - Light, A History of Canadian Military Intelligence, Volume 4, 2006-present (pending)


Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch, the first 36 years

           Major (Retired) Harold A. Skaarup, CD2

Former Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel for 3 Intelligence Company (Halifax)

            When the 41st Anniversary of the Intelligence Branch is celebrated in October 2023, there will be much to be proud of looking back on our accomplishments.  When the newly formed Intelligence Branch formally stood up on 29 October 1982, there were 88 Intelligence Officers and 195 Intelligence Operators for a total of 283 in the Regular Force and an additional 24 Reserve Intelligence Officers and 50 Intelligence Operators officially serving.[1]  The primary adversary faced by Canadian soldiers at that time was considered to be the Soviet Union, and serving intelligence personnel were actively engaged in the Cold War.  Today, there are more than 400 Intelligence Officers and well over 600 Intelligence Operators in service around the globe.  The Soviet Union no longer exists and many Intelligence Branch members are engaged in a hot war in Afghanistan carrying out the fight against global terrorism.

            Authors David Stafford and Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones wrote, “the intelligence relationship between three important North Atlantic powers (Canada, the UK and the US) in the Twenty-first century, from [the Second World War] to post-Cold War… cemented loose and often informal inter-allied agreements on security intelligence that had preceded it, and created new and important areas of close and formal co-operation in such areas as code-breaking and foreign intelligence.  Anglo American SIGINT, the OSS/SOE connection, the Venona intercepts and the unmasking of Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, and the defection of Igor Gouzenko”, are a few examples of this co-operation.[2]

            Things have changed, but nowhere in the CF is this more evident than in our Intelligence Branch.  In 1982, we had just come out of an integrated Security Branch facing a single almost overwhelmingly clear adversary, with the remote possibility in the age of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) and détente, of global annihilation in a nuclear war.  In October 1989, just seven years later, the Berlin Wall fell and shortly afterwards many Eastern European nations separated from the former Warsaw Pact and joined the West.  The peaceful period lasted for what seemed to be only fractions of a second.  Members of the CF abruptly found themselves switching from peacekeeping duties to war fighting in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia, Kosovo, Rwanda, and East Timor in a series of increasingly dangerous missions, all of which required the direct involvement of fit and alert intelligence staffs.  Today, more Canadian intelligence personnel are directly involved in, or are providing background support to the war in Afghanistan than existed in the entire CF in 1982.  We live in interesting, and in some respect, very dangerous times.  What we do, therefore, makes a tremendous difference, more so than perhaps in the days of the Cold War.

            Looking back at the series of changes Intelligence has undergone, one of the most significant administrative events took place when the amalgamated Security Branch was formed in 1969 because of the CF integration unification policy put into effect on 1 February 1968.  The Security Branch included all police, security and intelligence personnel from the various Corps and Branches of the former three services.  On paper, this seemed workable.  In practice, it proved difficult, and various studies led to the conclusion that separate Security and Intelligence Branches were required.  The CIS fully endorsed this conclusion, as did the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, which led to the formal announcement of the separation of the Security Branch in CANFORGEN message 32/81 3 December 1981.  The newly created Intelligence Branch included the establishment of the Intelligence 82 Officer classification and the Intelligence Operator 111 trade.

            During the formation of the Intelligence Branch Col Victor V. Ashdown (in his role as the first Intelligence Branch Advisor), wrote that the immediate reasons for a separate Intelligence Branch were, “the obvious difference in tasks of Police/Security and intelligence personnel, and the strong desire for a separate identity among the Intelligence Group.  However, underlying these reasons is the realisation by our Generals and Admirals that intelligence as a function is becoming more important.  There is also a definite trend away from the days of unification/integration – it is now OK to talk about war, traditions and “the military ethos.”

            Our first Honorary Colonel Commandant, Sir William S. Stephenson stated, “today, intelligence in the context you are aware of, is not only the first line of defence but might very well be the only defence.  We must know before the event when the enemy intends to strike and thereby strike him first.”[3]

            Intelligence Branch personnel have been involved in the mainstream of many military operations world-wide since its inauguration in 1982.  Intelligence Branch members at that time were employed overseas with the CDLS in London and in Washington; with SHAPE in Belgium, and with the CFAs in Beijing, Belgrade, Warsaw, Prague, Moscow and Tel Aviv.  There were also many undergoing training at the Canadian Forces Language School (CFLS) in Ottawa.  Intelligence Branch personnel were serving at CF Bases (CFB) in Germany with 1 Canadian Air Group (1 CAG) at CFB Baden-Soellingen and with 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (4 CMBG) in Lahr, and in other locations in Canadian Forces Europe (CFE) and across Canada.

            The Intelligence Branch continued to evolve as new direction and planning was provided.  Branch Boards wrote Mobilisation Specifications for Military Occupation Code (MOC) 82 and Intelligence Operator 111.  These codes were subsequently used as a basis for new Intelligence Reserve Specifications, which were prepared by Force Mobile Command (FMC) HQ.  The Counter Intelligence role was retained by the Security Branch, the consequences of which are still being debated.  A Combat Intelligence study was carried out for Army Combat Development, outlining the future organization of Army Intelligence.  FMC HQ gained its own Intelligence organization, Intelligence positions in CFE grew, and an alliance was formed with the British Intelligence Corps.

            The CF Intelligence Branch Association was formed on 1 May 1985, and shortly afterwards, Intelligence Branch numbers were issued and a Branch Historical Committee was formed.  As the various commands began to demand more intelligence support for their operations, women were re-mustered into the trade as Intelligence Operators.  These demands challenged the training system, as it takes a fair amount of time to integrate newly trained Intelligence Officers and Operators.  An unprecedented recruiting drive took place in the 1980s to increase personnel in the Intelligence trade.  The Reserve shortfall was particularly acute, with 363 Army slots being set aside for FMC alone in 1985, whereas Army Intelligence Militia numbers stood at only 40 personnel at the time.  Air Command and Maritime Command also continued to expand the number of Intelligence positions on their establishment.

            The provision of training programs to meet the professional requirements of the modern Intelligence Officer and Intelligence Operator continued as a top-level Branch priority.  Courses being conducted by the Intelligence Training Company at CFSIS included Intelligence Officer 82A, Intelligence Operator TQ5A, Intelligence Operator TQ6A, Intelligence Operator TQ6B, Interrogator, Combat Intelligence Officer, Combat Intelligence NCO, Air Intelligence and Reserve Intelligence courses.

            When Sir William Stevenson retired, MGen Reginald J.G. Weeks, CD, was offered and accepted the post of Honorary Colonel Commandant of the Intelligence Branch on 10 October 1985.  Expansion in every department of the Canadian Forces seemed to be the norm, as the Chief Intelligence and Security (CIS) adopted a new organization with two Divisions: Director General Intelligence and DG Security.  DG Intelligence retained Director Defence Intelligence (DDI, Director Scientific Intelligence (DSTI), DISA and PPC, and gained a Director of Current Intelligence (DCI) (formerly DDI 5), and a Director of Imagery Exploitation (DIE), (formerly DDI-6).  DDI sections were renumbered and CIS OP&T was renamed Director Intelligence Plans and Doctrine (DIPD).  These changes increased the demand for trained personnel, just as more Intelligence establishment positions were being added at NORAD in Colorado Springs; Elmendorf AFB, Alaska; the Combat Training Centre (CTC) at CFB Gagetown; and at CF Communications Command (CFCC) HQ in Ottawa.  Recruitment and training of Intelligence personnel for the Reserve Electronic Warfare Squadron in Kingston also began.

            Throughout this era, many Intelligence personnel will remember taking part in the various RENDEZVOUS Exercises held in the field at CFB Gagetown and CFB Wainwright and with Command Post Exercise workups at CFB Petawawa and CFB Valcartier.  Over the same period, Air Command Intelligence Operators were heavily engaged in MAPLE FLAG exercises at CFB Cold Lake while supporting counter-Bear Intruder Operations in the far North.  Intelligence staffs supporting the Navy took an active part in MARCOM and MARPAC exercises at sea and supported sovereignty patrols and live operations against the submarine threat.  All of these concurrent activities kept Intelligence personnel in every Command very busy with their analysis and assessment taskings.

            The Intelligence Collection and Analysis Centre (ICAC) concept was developed through the Army’s Combat Development Process (as it was known in those days) within the context of the well-known “Corps 86” plan.  The first ICAC was deliberately fielded during the RITE SIMPLE/RITE COMPLEX series of command post exercises in Valcartier in 1985.  It was subsequently deployed as part of the FMC Division during RV 87 (Apr-Jun) in Wainwright and, as in the Valcartier exercise, it brought together “Battle Analysts”, Meteorologists, Terrain Analysts, feeds from the Experimental RPV troop, Air Photo Reconnaissance, Electronic Warfare, reporting from the deployed Interrogation Team as well as Long Range Patrols – all under one roof.  This was the first true deployment of an “All Source” Intelligence Centre with actual collection carried out against “real” targets.  It also involved the early use of computers (with the then very modern Apple IIe) for collection management/ sensor co-ordination planning, analysis, data-base management, etc.  The lessons learned were captured in the 1988 version of the well-worn “Combat Intelligence” 315 (2) publication written by then Maj G.W. Jensen, Lieutenant J.A.E.K. Dowell and Lieutenant K.A.V. Sutton.  This was the foundation leading to the establishment of 1 Division Intelligence Company in 1989 - with an integral ICAC Platoon.  This was one of the most profound changes in Army Intelligence since WWII and has, indeed, led to the formation of the currently deployed ASIC (in the world of Special Operations Forces, the Special Operations Intelligence Centre).  It has been suggested that the ASIC/SOIC construct is an “evolution” of the ICAC concept (a mix of strategic and tactical) rather than a revolution.  In other words, the ground work for the success of the ASIC/SOICs in battle was developed twenty years ago.

            Exercise FINAL DRIVE evolved at CFB Kingston, with the participation of many Intelligence staffs brought in to support the final course completion exercises at “Foxhole U.”  The first Intelligence Operators trained to support a specifically created Communication Reserve Unit, the Intelligence Troop, Electronic Warfare Squadron, 763 Communication Regiment, graduated in 1987.  By the 5th Anniversary of the Intelligence Branch, the Canadian Forces requirements for Intelligence personnel had expanded considerably (87%), as a new Defence White paper was being tabled.

            In 1988, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to all United Nations peacekeepers, which at that time included the majority of serving Intelligence Branch personnel.  The Peacekeeping medal recognising this service would not be awarded until 2000.  While supporting the myriad demands of training and operations, Intelligence Branch personnel continuously updated their professional development skills.  They took advanced training on courses in such subjects as Soviet Operational Doctrine, Imagery Interpretation, Electronic Warfare Analysis, Prisoner of War Handling (PW), & Tactical Questioning Methodology, NATO Air Ground Operations Joint Intelligence Staff Intelligence, Psychological Operations (Psy Ops), and Targeting Procedures.

            In 1989, 1st Canadian Division (1 Cdn Div) Intelligence Company was formed at CFB Kingston to support the modernised Army “Field Force.”  The new Division was tasked as the Central Army Group (CENTAG) Reserve, while a Territorial Defence Force was to be responsible for the defence of North America.

            The First Gulf War began at 0100 hours on 17 January 1991, as America and its allies launched their opening strikes against Iraq with Tomahawk cruise missiles and aircraft.  The First Gulf War engaged a significant number of Canadian Intelligence Branch personnel, both through deployments and in the Intelligence analysis of the situation which precipitated the war.  That summer, a series of events at Oka and Akwesasne in Central Canada took place, leading the Canadian Government to deploy forces in an Aid to the Civil Power Operation.  During the difficult and often tense operations that followed, Intelligence personnel were in continuous demand, and they became well-recognised for their valuable contributions.

            Following the demise of the Soviet Union and reduction in Cold War tension, the Canadian people demanded to see a “peace dividend.”  Not long afterwards, the government announced a series of budget cuts to the Canadian Forces, resulting in the termination of services by 1 Combat Air Group (CAG) and 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (CMBG) in Europe.  The last major Air and Brigade elements of Canadian Forces Europe (CFE) were repatriated to Canada by 1993.  As open skies policies began to be implemented, many Canadian Intelligence personnel were trained as Arms Verification Inspectors, and subsequently deployed to a wide number of countries, from Iceland to Russia to count and verify the status of various weapons and equipment.  Although the majority of Canada’s peacekeepers with the UN in Cyprus were also withdrawn, Canadian Forces Intelligence personnel continued to serve with the UN HQ in Nicosia, Cyprus.

            In October 1991, Canadian Forces Intelligence personnel deployed overseas at the request of the Committee of Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE), to participate in the European Community Monitoring Mission (ECMM) in Yugoslavia.  With an expansion of the Intelligence staffs employed at Tunney’s Pasture in Ottawa, a number of these personnel were made available for temporary deployment duties overseas.  In addition, in October, celebrations were held marking the 10th Anniversary of the Intelligence Branch and the 50th Anniversary of the Canadian Intelligence Corps.  Some 300 participants took part in the commemoration at CFB Borden in 1992.

            From December 1992 to June 1993, Canada participated in the Unified Task Force (UNITAF), a United States-led enforcement coalition dealing with the civil war in famine-ravaged Somalia.  Many members of the Intelligence Branch served with the peacekeeping forces in Mogadishu during this mission.  In 1993, Intelligence personnel found themselves deployed for operations in the dangerous environments of Croatia and Rwanda.  In a number of cases, our Intelligence crews were tasked to investigate incredibly grim atrocities in both regions, with extremely large numbers of casualties to examine both during and following the genocide in Rwanda.

            In February 1993, 2 Intelligence Platoon comprised of both regular and reserve members, stood up in Ottawa.  In January 1994, the Canadian Forces School of Intelligence and Security (CFSIS) stood up the Distance Learning Company.  In October 1995, the Intelligence Training Company at CFSIS was reformed.

            A great number of Canadian Forces Intelligence personnel have rotated through the various Intelligence positions in Bosnia-Herzegovina beginning in 1992 and continuing to the present day.  Canadian Intelligence personnel were part of the Peace Implementation Force (IFOR) and its follow on, the Peace Stabilization Force (SFOR), in the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) from the beginning.  The Canadian National Intelligence Centre (CANIC) based in Sarajevo, provided Intelligence support to NATO through the HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) Main, the Commander Canadian Contingent in-theatre (CCIFOR, and later CCSFOR), and national decision-making bodies concerned with the future of the FYR.

            Many Intelligence personnel participated in deployments to Haiti over a number of missions.   In 1996, the Canadian Forces Photo Unit (CFPU) was added to the J2 Division in Ottawa.  10 Tactical Air Group (10 TAG) Intelligence personnel were kept busy with Tactical Helicopter operations and exercises across Canada, and Air Command had its hands full with down-sizing, operations in Vicenza and Ancona, Italy, counter drug operations, BLUE FLAG exercises, deployments, operation support flights to Zagreb, Fish Wars, Joint Intelligence MAPLE FLAG, Haiti, and base closures.

            In 1996, Major-General (Ret’d) J.E. Pierre Lalonde, CD2, was appointed as the new Colonel Commandant of the Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch.  Army HQ returned to Ottawa on 3 September 1996, moving into the top three floors in NDHQ’s North Tower.  The Commander’s G2 staff became officially known as Director Land Force Readiness 4 (DLFR 4).

            Enemy, weather and terrain have always been the big three when it comes to determining Intelligence priorities.  When a major ice storm hit parts of Ontario and Quebec in 1997 knocking out power in large parts of the provinces, Intelligence was of critical importance.  In April 1997, Air Command Intelligence staffs were also tasked to support OP ASSISTANCE, the Canadian Forces operation to battle the Red River Flood.

            Change continued to take place in the Canadian Forces, and in 1997, Brigadier-General Ken C Hague stated, “The hallmark of the Canadian Forces, and by extension the Intelligence Branch, has been turbulence, constant change, and uncertainty for the past several years.  Re-engineering, personnel and budget reductions, rapid advances in information technology and management (IT/IM), social change, media attention, and numerous other factors have influenced our military culture and mores, some would argue, more than at any other time in the history of the CF…In addition to experiencing this change phenomenon, we have also been the subject of an extraordinary volume of operational and professional challenges, which have taxed our diminishing resources to the limit: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haiti, Zaire, Guatemala, greater Intelligence opportunities, increased demand and requirements, more sophisticated clients who are product smart, and increased demands on fewer managers.”

            Brigadier-General Hague observed that one of the keys to future success in the Intelligence world is to take a proactive approach to keeping ahead of the IT/IM power curve.  He also noted that the missions in both Haiti and Bosnia-Herzegovina confirmed the invaluable role played by human Intelligence (HUMINT), pointing out that eighty percent of all Intelligence used by commanders in these missions was derived from HUMINT sources.  He added, “the National Intelligence Cell (NIC) concept utilised primarily in Bosnia-Herzegovina had proven extremely beneficial to both NATO commanders and home nations.”

            This situation continues to apply today, as he said, “Our challenge must be to exploit each and every new gadget and tool to the fullest by looking and thinking outside the box of conventional operational practices.  This challenge is not a simple or easy one.  It requires inquiring minds at the coal-face, and encouragement and recognition by supervisors.”  Brigadier-General Hague encouraged all Intelligence personnel to “respond to the challenges we all face by committing yourself to continuous self-improvement, to exploiting IT/IM to the fullest, and to search for methods of maximising the return on Canada’s investment on the military Intelligence function.[4]

            In 1997, the SI/CI functions of DG Security and Military Police were transferred to J2/DG Intelligence in Ottawa.  The change meant that “Security Intelligence” was now under control of J2 Operations, “CI doctrine and planning” under J2 Plans and Policy, and the 40-person National Counter Intelligence Unit (NCIU), reported directly to J2/DG Intelligence.

            In 1998, Intelligence Branch personnel worked in both of NATO’s major Commands, including Supreme Allied Command Atlantic (SACLANT), close to the major naval base at Norfolk, Virginia; and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE), in Mons, Belgium.

            In 1998, CFSIS was split Into the CF Provost School and the CF School of Military Intelligence (CFSMI), with their commandants holding the rank of Major.  That same year four East European Bloc students attended the Advanced Intelligence Course, an incredible change in light of events of the previous decade.  The universal threats at this time were considered to be drug trafficking, international gangsterism, and Y2K.  Identifying personnel for CF operations continued to be a challenge for the Land Forces Intelligence community, exacerbated by high demand, fewer postings and unforecast attrition.  The lack of deployable personnel at the rank of Captain, Warrant Officer and Sergeant, and in particular, bilingual personnel, caused the most difficulty.  The Air Command Intelligence Community was approached for assistance.

            In 1998, Intelligence Officers were loaded onto the year-long Technical Staff Course in Kingston for the first time, adding a new range of diverse and useful training to the Branch skills and knowledge base.

            A landmark event took place on 17 June 1999 at 1800 hours, when CFSIS ceased to exist.  Lieutenant-Colonel Tony Battista handed over the Security and Military Police functions to Captain Jim Legére, as Commandant of the Canadian Forces Military Police and Security Academy (CFMPSA) and the Intelligence function to Major Robert G. Nash as Commandant of the CF School of Military Intelligence (CFSMI).  CFSMI’s move to CFB Kingston took place the following year, in 2000.

            As the threat continued to evolve, so too did the Intelligence Branch.  In 1999, Colonel Pat Crandell made the assessment that “the next millennium would bring with it further disintegration of the nation state, criminalization of some countries, inter-economic bloc friction, religion-based conflict, and regional hot wars.  The millennium would also bring incredible new challenges and opportunities driven by the revolution in military affairs which itself is being fuelled by quantum leaps in technology.  Knowledge-base warfare is the new reality.  The challenge is to adjust quickly enough and invest enough in systems and our people to remain interoperable with our primary allies.”

            Colonel Patrick Crandell predicted, “the conflict in the next century and beyond would be radically different, where the first round down range would likely be a logic bomb, as opposed to a GBU 12.”  He suggested that it would be a conflict where “a smaller adversary could inflict potentially campaign-stopping damage through asymmetric attack.  It would also be a conflict where, more than ever before, success would hinge on the side with the best Intelligence capabilities.  To fight and win in such an environment will require both evolutionary as well as dramatic changes in our doctrine, structures, collection and processing capabilities, and in the education and training of our people.”

            Colonel Crandell believed, “the future will bring fewer Intelligence organisations, but those that remain will see dramatic increases in capability and scope of responsibility, driven by massive new data flows made possible through ever advancing technologies.  It will not be that many years before we are capable of 24/7 global surveillance.  Think of what that means from the perspective of future C3I.  How many headquarters will we need, or more to the point, will we be able to afford in such an environment?  What happens to our traditional concepts of C2, when one headquarters in Canada will be able to provide tactical threat warning to deployed forces and indeed control those forces?  In this environment, Intelligence organisations will need to be truly all source in their analyses and will contain Imagery, signals, and human and Counter Intelligence specialists possessing advanced analytical training and driving “Intelligence” IT systems.  They will present their analyses graphically in a Geospatial context so that the user will be able to visualise the issue of concern in the actionable space for which they are responsible.  The other potential I see is that the traditional division between “Ops and Intelligence” will blur, with Intelligence taking on more and more of the responsibility for red, blue, and grey situational awareness and display… Change, whether it is gradual or radical, and whether we like it or not, will be our constant companion.”

            The pace of operations overseas grew exponentially, as at one point in 2000, there were 4,400 personnel deployed on twenty-two missions, more than at any time since the Korean War.  Intelligence Branch personnel found themselves at opposite ends of the world, with OP KINETIC underway in Kosovo and OP TOUCAN being played out in East Timor.  There were for example, twenty-three Intelligence personnel in the Balkans (fifteen in Bosnia-Herzegovina and eight in Kosovo), two in the Central African Republic; and four in East Timor at any given time.  Aside from the hazards of being in a war zone, Intelligence personnel had to contend with many cases of tropical diseases such as malaria, Dengue fever and diarrhoea.

            CFSMI staffs took their instructional expertise on the road as well, and following a request from the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF), a three-man team of CFSMI instructors was formed to conduct a three-week Strategic Intelligence Course in Harare, Zimbabwe.  Canadian Intelligence personnel also conducted a course in Prague, in the Czech Republic.

            Attrition continued to pose a significant numbers problem for the Intelligence Branch as demands for its services increased.  In 1999, Branch strength was 160 officers and 247 NCMs in the Regular Force, and the Reserves were authorised 148 positions, but were under-strength at all rank levels, even though 225 positions were planned for the following year.

            In 2001, Major-General J.E. Pierre Lalonde ended his five-year role as the Colonel Commandant of our CF Intelligence Branch.  He was succeeded by Major-General (Ret’d) C. William “Bill” Hewson.

            Some 460 CF personnel were deployed to Eastern Africa following the cessation of hostilities between Ethiopian and Eritrean forces and the inauguration of the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia Eritrea (UNMEE).  Intelligence Branch personnel were part of Canada’s contribution to this mission, finding themselves in Eritrea, located in the Horn of Africa, participating in “Military Information” operations.

            In anticipation of future requirements, J2 Imagery and the CF Photographic Unit (CFPU) were fused into a single entity, re-emerging on 21 June 2001 as the CF Joint Intelligence Imagery Centre (CFJIC).

            NORAD personnel continued to monitor the threat posed by the vast rocket and strategic air assets of the former Soviet Union, as well taking part in operations in support of surveillance and control of the airspace of Canada and the USA for the purpose of sovereignty and defence.  Then on Tuesday, 11 September 2001, the world as we knew it in North America changed dramatically.  The events of this day have come to be known as the 911 terrorist attacks.

            Between 7:45 a.m. and 8:10 a.m. EDT on that date, four airplanes were hijacked from East Coast airports in the USA.  At 8:46 a.m. EDT, the first hijacked passenger jet crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Centre in New York City, tearing a gaping hole in the building and setting it on fire.  At 9:03 a.m. EDT, a second hijacked airliner crashed into the south tower of the World Trade Centre and exploded.  At 9:43 a.m. EDT, a third crashed Into the Pentagon, sending up a huge plume of smoke.  At 10:10 a.m. EDT, a fourth hijacked airplane crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Southeast of Pittsburgh.  At 10:24 a.m., the FAA reported that all inbound transatlantic aircraft flying into the United States were being diverted to Canada.  Within hours, US officials reported Saudi militant Osama bin Laden, who was suspected of co-ordinating the bombings of two US embassies in 1998, was involved in these attacks.[5]

            On 12 September 2001, a day after the terrorist attacks in the United States   of America, NATO invoked the principle of Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.  After confirming that such actions had been conducted from abroad, the Article became operative on 2 October 2001.  Bin Laden’s home base was known to be in Afghanistan at that time and in due course, Canadians Forces Intelligence personnel found themselves on the ground participating in the hunt for him.  We continue to be there with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) based in Kandahar and Kabul at the time of writing.

            OP APOLLO was Canada’s military contribution to the International campaign against terrorism, initially consisting of one warship.  In co-operation with vessels of the OP ENDURING FREEDOM coalition, the frigate HMCS Calgary conducted maritime interdiction operations in the Arabian Gulf.

            In the wake of the events of 11 September 2001 and the Canadian involvement in the Global War on Terrorism, the first CF offensive combat operations since the Korean War were conducted from February 2002 to July 2002, with the deployment of 3 Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Battle Group (BG) to Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Also for the first time since Korea, a Canadian Army unit was integrated under an American unit, in this case 187 Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Screaming Eagles), for combat operations.  This deployment included Intelligence contributions on a scope quite different from previous operations.  Intelligence personnel were deployed as part of the offensive units in order to maximise immediate exploitation of any information gathered in situ.

            Author Michael J. Cole accurately described the situation in Canada in the years following these horrific terrorist attacks: “Nothing has captured our imagination and fed our nightmares since 11 September 2001, more than international terrorism.  The news is filled with “terror,” and our government, from the prime minister to security experts, have repeatedly told us that for Canada, it is no longer a question of “if,” but “when.”[6]  Dwight Hamilton also noted that, “Since 9/11, Canada has been on the front lines of a New World Order that few understand.  And in today’s world, secret intelligence is not just the first line of defence - it may be the only one.”[7]  David Last and Bernd Horn noted that, “Twenty years from now, security issues may dictate that counter-terrorism is more important than operations to secure stability and rule of law.  Security at the border, ethnic demography, and the perspective of the next generation will determine what strategic choices Canada will make about special military operations and the elite forces developed to carry out special missions.”[8]

            On the 20th Anniversary of the Intelligence Branch, Major Jim Godefroy noted we had “evolved from a nascent organization that was oriented towards Cold War enemies to one that provided Integral and highly sought-after support to every Canadian Forces deployment.  Intelligence Branch personnel were serving in many offices within National Defence Headquarters; at the CF Joint Intelligence Imagery Centre (CFJIC); in the Joint Intelligence Operations Group (JOG) at CFB Kingston; in Land Force Command, Area, Brigade Group, and Reserve Intelligence units, and Training and Doctrine positions; at 1 Canadian Air Division, Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters and in eight of fourteen Air Force Wings; with the Navy on both coasts; in national battle group and contingent headquarters on overseas missions; and with multi-national division and mission headquarters in United Nations or NATO areas of operations.  Army and Air Force Reserve Intelligence personnel had won honours and awards, deployed on countless operations, and trained incessantly to meet future operational requirements.  Naval Intelligence staffs ran state of the art watch centres, and deployed to sea in ships and naval task groups in support of national and coalition operations.  Air Intelligence staffs provided support to operations, including those of NORAD, in tactical helicopter, fighter, maritime patrol and helicopter, and transport squadrons.  Canadian Forces Intelligence liaison officers worked to enhance connectivity with Canada’s allies and other government departments.  Intelligence Branch personnel continue to serve abroad in NATO and NORAD positions, providing allies with tangible support while increasing our profile and reputation abroad.”

            Branch personnel served with distinction in support of numerous coalition operations with the United Nations and NATO in many regions of the world, including Cyprus, Western Sahara, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Ethiopia-Eritrea, East Timor, Afghanistan and Haiti.  They supported disaster relief efforts in Central America and Turkey, and domestic operations (Dom Ops) during Manitoba’s flood (1997), central Canada’s ice storm (1998), the Swiss Air disaster (1998), Y2K contingency planning (1999), and the 911 response (2001).  Intelligence Branch personnel served on almost every major operation undertaken by the Canadian Forces during the last 20 years.  Invariably, they produced excellent results and provided first-rate support that far exceeded their numbers and resources.

            In 2002, the Director General Intelligence noted that an audit done on Canadian Forces Intelligence by the Chief of Review Services indicated that there were 2000 personnel doing “Intelligence” in the Canadian Forces, but only 400 actually wore an Intelligence Branch cap badge.  A requirement was identified for a central “Intelligence” authority within the Canadian Forces. He reported improvements in Intelligence included the development of an Integrated Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, which strengthened the link between analysts and their sensors up to the key decision makers.  ISR developments including enhanced sensors on ships and improved shore support capability were underway in the Navy in order to improve support to fleet operations.  The Air Force was engaged in a CF ISR/Joint Intelligence Space Project, including an improved Imagery capability and a CF Fusion Centre (all-source cell).  Army Intelligence Reserves were in a healthy position.  Air Force and Army Reserve positions had nearly doubled (filled by mainly ex-Regular Force personnel).  The Naval Reserves changed their Naval Control of Shipping MOC to Reserve Naval Intelligence.

In 2003, Intelligence personnel served in the J2 Section of the Canadian Joint Intelligence Task Force South West Asia (CA JTFSWA) National Command Element (NCE) working at the US Central Command HQ at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida, as part of OP APOLLO.  Many Intelligence Branch personnel had served and would likely serve again on OP ATHENA in Kabul, Bagram and Kandahar, Afghanistan.  Intelligence personnel were also at sea, assigned to assist with control of the Northern Arabian Gulf in the vicinity of Iraq, an area that had traditionally been the Area of Operations (AO) for Canadian ships in previous deployments such as OP AUGMENTATION.  Training for all these missions intensified at all Canadian Forces bases, with Intelligence personnel included in the preparations for deployment of other Canadian Forces personnel, often while getting ready to deploy themselves.

            Domestic Security became a priority, with all elements of the Canadian Intelligence Community working in association with various government agencies, some of them newly created since the events of 11 September 2001.  The Intelligence Branch found itself working closely with the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada (PSEPC), which had taken on the fundamental role of government to secure the public’s safety and security.  Following its creation on 12 December 2003, PSEPC combined the core activities of the previous Department of the Solicitor General, the Office of Critical Infrastructure and Emergency Preparedness (OCIEP), and the National Crime Prevention Centre.  PSEPC is part of the portfolio of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness that includes the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC), the National Parole Board (NPB), the Canada Firearms Centre (CFC), the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and three review bodies.  In close concert with these agencies, Intelligence Branch personnel participated in numerous training exercises and planning conferences to deal with civil emergencies such as hurricane relief, ice storm damage, forest fire fighting, the possibility of an avian influenza epidemic and of course criminal and counter-terrorism concerns wedged in at all levels.

            In 2004, thirty-four Intelligence Branch personnel provided Intelligence in support of the Commander of OP HALO, with most operating out of Port au Prince, Haiti.  Canadians also provided continuous Intelligence personnel to the G2 staffs supporting the SFOR Multinational Brigade (North West) headquartered in Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

            On 12 November 2004, the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) and the Deputy Minister (DM) approved in principle the conclusions and recommendations of the Defence Intelligence Review (DIR) and approved the designation of DG/Intelligence as the Chief of Defence Intelligence (CDI).  This change launched Defence Intelligence on a multi-year transformation process that saw it develop a capability that is in a better position to respond to the unprecedented demand for timely, accurate and fully Integrated Intelligence.

            As of 2010 there are more than 900 serving members and significant numbers of Intelligence Branch personnel have been deployed in Afghanistan, while many more are expected to do so in support of the Canadian government’s commitment to provide Canadian Forces personnel in theatre for some time to come.

            Although the CF Intelligence Branch is relatively small in comparison with its allied counterparts, all members work collectively to provide the necessary timely and useful Intelligence to military commanders required to assist them in their decision-making.  The Intelligence Branch Advisor has stated that the Branch “can be justly proud of what it has accomplished over the last twenty-five years.  We have served quietly with little fanfare, working long hours in austere conditions and always with a single-minded purpose – to provide the commander with Intelligence needed to make operational decisions.  We will never go wrong if we maintain this focus, and new members of the Branch can be justly proud of the tradition they have inherited.  There will always be new operations, new analysis to be done, and new pages to be written in the history of our Intelligence Branch.”

            “Our challenge as a Branch will be to continue to provide carefully selected, highly motivated, thoroughly trained and operationally focussed Intelligence professionals capable of expertly applying the Art & Science of Military Intelligence at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.  There is no less of a requirement for the products of the Intelligence cycle now, (and the sharing of them with ones allies) than there was in the age of Napoleon Bonaparte and Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington.  The present Intelligence Branch continues the tradition of a long line of Canadian military personnel who have served their country.”

           “The fact is that although success in battle can most readily be won by accurate information about the enemy, and disaster stumbled into by ignorance, the chances and perils of human life rule the battlefield.  There is no sure road to success.  In no part of a warrior’s work is this truer than in Intelligence.”  Col Peter E.R. Wright, Canadian Intelligence Corps.

            Intelligence is of concern to all members of the Canadian Forces and it continues to be generated and disseminated to commanders at all levels.  Virtually every member of the Intelligence branch has been affected by the world events that have taken place following the end of the “Cold War and our subsequent participation in “hot” wars.

            In 1982, LCol Victor V. Ashdown stated, “The future of the Intelligence Branch…depends on us.  The leadership of the Canadian Forces has noted that the Intelligence function is becoming increasingly important and has decided to re-establish an Intelligence Branch to meet the need.  We have been given a vote of confidence by the top echelon…the best guarantee for a bright future is our own professionalism – the ability and the desire to do the job better than anyone else.  Ability we can ensure through selection and training, but desire – the difference between an adequate job and an excellent one – must come from within each of us.  It must be nurtured by good leadership, a sense of “caring,” a common identity and a common purpose.  Make a commitment – to yourself, to the Branch and to the Forces – to strive for excellence in everything you do.”[9]

            There is much that we can be proud of and reflect on in the present day Canadian Forces Intelligence Branch.  Branch personnel have become the core of the Defence Intelligence Function and are recognised as true professionals in the Art and Science of Military Intelligence, leading action through knowledge.  The Intelligence Branch has truly been taken from out of the darkness and into the light.

E Tenebris Lux

            “No where does the maxim “knowledge is strength” more fittingly apply than to the relationship between a commander and his G-2.  By looking into the past, HLCol Skaarup has helped ensure that lesson is not lost in the future.”  John Bryden

[1] On 1 Aug 1982, the Intelligence Branch included 1 Col, 1 A/Col, 5 LCol, 19 Maj, 45 Capt, 5 Lt, 2 2Lt and 6 OCdt, for a total of 88 officers.  It held 1 CWO (with 1 promotion to follow), 8/7 MWO, 37 WO, 75 Sgt, 35 MCpl, 37 Cpl and 2 Pte for a total of 195 other ranks and a grand total of 283 Regular Force Intelligence Branch personnel.  The Reserve Force establishment for Intelligence Branch personnel was 24 officers and 50 NCOs.  Regular Force Support Staff NCOs were included in the Regular Force figures.

[2] David Stafford, Editor; and Rhodri Jeffreys-Jones, Editor.  American-British-Canadian Intelligence Relations, (Routledge; 1st Edition, 1 Sep 2000), introduction.

[3] Letter from Sir William S. Stephenson, CC, MC, DFC, forwarded to the Intelligence Branch Advisor, LCol V.V. Ashdown, for reading to attendees at the Intelligence Branch Inauguration Mess Dinner, CFB Borden, Ontario, 29 October 1982.

[4] Sinister Sam’s Notebook, Edition 1, March 1997, pp. 8-10.

[5] Internet: http://people.howstuffworks.com/sept-eleven1.htm.  8 Oct 2003.

[6] Michael J. Cole, Smokescreen: Canadian Security Intelligence after September 11, 2001, (iUniverse, September 2008), introduction.

[7] Dwight Hamilton, Editor, Inside Canadian Intelligence: Exposing the New Realities of Espionage and International Terrorism. (Dundurn, 2nd Edition, 13 June 2011), introduction.

[8] David Last, Editor; and Bernd Horn, Editor, Choice of Force, Special Operations for Canada.  (Special Operations Series #2, Queen’s Policy Studies Series #41, 1 May 2005), introduction.

[9] LCol Victor V. Ashdown, Intelligence Branch Advisor, Letter to all Intelligence Branch Members, 17 Aug 1982.

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