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Shaping Commitment: Resolving Canada's Strategy Gap in Afghanistan and Beyond

Authored by Colonel D. Craig Hilton. | July 2007

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Release of Canada's first-ever National Security Policy (NSP) in 2004, followed by the International (Foreign) Policy Statement and Defence Policy Review in 2005, has publicly articulated Canada's principal security interests for the post-September 11, 2001 (9/11), world. Nevertheless, the realities of Canada's present engagement in Afghanistan have highlighted a gap between stated national security and foreign policy goals on one hand, and the Canadian military, diplomatic, and development effort in theater, on the other. National interests and values, articulated within the NSP and the International Policy Statement, are insufficient to frame the context for such a complex endeavor. Only a clearly defined strategy based upon rigorous analysis of ends, ways, and means and assessment of risk can enable informed national and political debate, provide the required guidance for campaign planning among government departments, and determine Canada's preferred stake in the wider international arena, including the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT). Recommendations are provided with respect to resolving Canada's strategy gap in both the immediate and longer term.