Technically the agreement has been a success, co-ordinating 2 air forces in a difficult task and keeping Canadian airmen in touch with doctrine and policy - and keeping them flying. But because the concurrence of the 2 governments is required before formal alerts or action, there has been difficulty, most notably in 1962 during the CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS. The Americans went on standby alert as soon as the crisis was apparent, but the Diefenbaker government delayed for a period of days, angering the Kennedy administration and provoking much criticism in Canada. The matter was complicated by the fact that the BOMARC MISSILES at the 2 Canadian Bomarc bases had no nuclear warheads, another consequence of divisions in Cabinet; and the Bomarc itself was greatly resented by partisans of the CF-105 AVRO ARROW aircraft, which had been cancelled by the government 3 years earlier in a decision that some (unfairly) blamed on NORAD.
NORAD has been kept in place by successive governments. The renaming of the command in 1981 reflected a new emphasis on defence and warning against missiles, and the advent of Cruise missiles increased NORAD's necessity. The Canadian government recognized this in 1985 by deciding to upgrade the North Warning System. In response to changing threats and global operating environment, the United States began in the 1990s to move its warning, detection and surveillance into space. This shift in emphasis will lessen the importance of Canadian geography in the overall North American aerospace defence strategy. As a result, Canada may experience less leverage in future NORAD agreements, and therefore less claim on its aerospace sovereignty, if it cannot contribute credibly in the space domain.
Author J.L. GRANATSTEIN
Links to Other Sites
Canadian War Museum
The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa is dedicated to the men and women who served with valour and distinction in Canada’s armed services. Their website features a virtual tour of the museum and multimedia online exhibits that depict how Canada met and overcame wartime challenges throughout its history.
This multimedia CBC site focuses on Canada’s role in the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
Canadian Military History Gateway
Search this website for authoritative information about Canadian military history. Provides links to websites for Canadian museums, libraries, archives, and other heritage organizations. Also features an online glossary of military terminology, educational resources and much more. From the Department of National Defence.
Canadian Military Journal
The online edition of the "Canadian Military Journal." Many articles about contemporary military issues, compelling history features, book reviews, and much more.
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