Sovereignty and Command in Canada–US Continental Air Defence, 1940–57
272 pages, 6 x 9
19 photos, 2 illus., 4 maps
Release Date:01 May 2018

Sovereignty and Command in Canada–US Continental Air Defence, 1940–57

UBC Press

The 1940 Ogdensburg Agreement entrenched a formal defence relationship between Canada and the United States – but was Canadian sovereignty protected in this seemingly unequal partnership?

Sovereignty and Command in Canada–US Continental Air Defence, 1940–57 documents the close and sometimes fractious air defence relationship between the two countries. Drawing on untapped archival material, Richard Goette challenges prevailing perceptions of eroded Canadian sovereignty. He argues instead that a functional military transition from an air defence system based on cooperation to one based on integrated and centralized command and control under NORAD allowed Canada to retain command of its forces and thus protect its sovereignty. Compromises between Canadian, American, and British military cultures, operational and doctrinal factors, Canadian sensitivities, and cordial professional working relationships all had roles to play this transition.

Goette combines historical narrative with a conceptual analysis of sovereignty, command and control systems, military professionalism, and civil-military relations. In the process, he provides essential insights into the Royal Canadian Air Force’s paradigm shift away from its Royal Air Force roots toward closer ties with the United States Air Force and the role of the nation’s armed forces in safeguarding its sovereignty.

This book will appeal to military and air force historians in the Five Eyes nations; military educators; military and civilian students; military professionals; and aviation and air force enthusiasts. More broadly, those interested in war and society, military history, and Canadian-American relations will find it illuminating.

Richard Goette is an air power academic and Canadian air force historian who is an assistant professor in the Royal Military College of Canada’s Department of Defence Studies located at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto. He is an associate editor-in-chief of the RCAF Association’s flagship publication, Airforce magazine, and also a research associate with the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies in Waterloo. Dr. Goette was recently awarded a Commander of the RCAF Commendation for contributions to Canadian air power and RCAF history and heritage research, publications, and professional military education.
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