Spirit over Steel
A Chronology of the Second World War

“Spirit over Steel” is not just a chronology of the war, but a work of prose literature in its succinct and elegant literary style, with injections of trenchant humour. It was written by John Thompson, a defence & security expert, historian and long time member of the RCMI.


SITREP is the Royal Canadian Military Institute’s (RCMI) bi-monthly professional journal. It is published online and distributed in print to RCMI members across Canada. SITREP publishes articles which engage with current Canadian defence and strategic topics, foreign and defence policies, international relations, and military history. Examples of specific topics published in past volumes of the journal include the Canadian role in NATO; arctic sovereignty; cyber terrorism; military technology and procurement projects; veterans affairs and Canadians in Afghanistan and in the World Wars. Graduate student papers are also occasionally published.
The editor of SITREP, Major (Ret'd) Daniel D. Eustace,CD, PhD encourages submissions to the journal from members of the defence, international relations, and academic communities. For submission guidelines, see below.

SITREP March-April 24

Guidelines for Contributors to SITREP

SITREP provides the opportunity for our readership and members of the academic, professional and policy communities, to comment on issues of contemporary defence and security. It is mailed to our 1700 members and stakeholders and receives further distribution via our website. From the feedback we receive world-wide, we are heartened to know how widely read it is, especially in the academic community and sister institutes. We especially encourage young, graduate-level writers to contribute.
Key considerations in the selection of authors will include the ability to write short, policy-relevant articles on military and strategic issues; experience and credentials in the relevant field along with the author's institutional affiliations; and most importantly, willingness to contribute to the ongoing debate in the field. Publication is ideal for both established academics and young scholars, and for professionals and policy specialists who seek the opportunity for intellectual outreach within the broad community of defence and international security studies.

Articles average from 850 (a one-pager) to 3000 words in length. Footnotes are kept to a minimum or eliminated entirely. (Please note: Footnote references/citations and bibliographies, where they exist in manuscripts chosen may be subject to editing and simplification for publication.) Submissions should be in Word (DOC or DOCX) format. Photographs, illustrations, charts, and other graphic material must be provided by the author, either in JPG or PDF format, separate from (i.e., not embedded in) the article.

To contact SITREP please write to our Director, Security and Defence Studies / SITREP Editor, Maj Dan Eustace

Back issues of SITREP, 2004 to the present, in downloadable PDF format are available in the Library catalogue here.  


Members' News

The bi-monthly newsletter, Members' News, highlights events and people around the Institute, and is available to members only.  Availability in the Library catalogue is under construction, but members may obtain information or back issues by contacting the Librarian.

The General Sir William Otter Papers

Commissioned as a Militia Officer in Toronto in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada, Lieutenant Colonel William Otter was the founding President of the Royal Canadian Military Institute.
His distinguished career included operational experience in the Battle of Ridgeway during the Fenian Raids, command of the Battleford Column in the North West campaign, and command of the 2nd (Special Service) Battalion The Royal Canadian Regiment during the South African Campaign. He finished his career as General Sir William Otter KCB CMG CVO, Inspector-General of Militia of Canada.
The General Sir William Otter Papers are specially selected by the Executive and/or the Defence and Security Studies Committee of the Institute as best representing Otter’s objective for the Institute, of “the promotion and fostering of military art, science and literature in Canada.”

Deterrence in Canada's Defence Policy

Other than being situated next door to the most powerful nation on earth Canada has little to deter potential enemies. Living in a “fireproof house” has allowed Canada to skimp on defence for decades, but perhaps as the power of the United States itself begins to wane Canadians should begin to consider the implications of our miserly ways in another light.

It is not that the US has not noticed our miserable efforts to pull our weight on mutual defence, such as our total lack of enthusiasm for ballistic missile defence and the need to upgrade the north warning system. The last US Administration was not shy about linking shortcomings in defence spending and preparedness to other relations between our nations, the key one being trade. How long will it be before we are once again under pressure to do more in the area of defence in order to maintain favourable terms of trade?

A recent paper by Dr Chris Champion, Deterrence in Canada’s Defence Policy, written while he was a visiting fellow at the Queen’s University Centre for International and Defence Policy, examines Canada’s potential to deter enemies. Sadly, his research shows that we really have little capability to do so. It points out however, that a relatively inexpensive way to provide more deterrence capability would be to expand Canada’s reserve forces, within the framework of a national mobilization plan.

Writing a mobilization plan is a relatively inexpensive exercise. One would expect that if done properly it could instruct defence planners as to how to improve efficiency and capacity while showing the world that Canada has at long last started to take defence seriously. The RCMI is proud to advance that agenda with the publication of this paper. Support for this project was approved by the RCMI Executive Committee and financed by several members.

Chris Champion Otter Paper

The Korean War - A Naval 'Sideshow' with Major Ramifications

In my capacity as the RCMI Director for Defence and Security Studies, it is my pleasure to present this Otter Paper by Commander (Ret'd) Ken Hansen entitled ‘The Korean War - A Naval ‘Sideshow’ with Major Ramifications’. I first met Ken when we were both planners at the Canadian Forces College about 20 years ago. Ken was a naval planner, and I was a land planner. By planner, I am referring to the staff who were responsible for researching and developing the curriculum for the then Command and Staff Course, primarily in relation to the ‘environmental term’. During that term, students delved into their own arm—army, navy, air force—at the operational level in great detail, and this then set them up for the final, or joint, term at the end of the course.

It was obvious then, as it is now, that while Ken is an expert in many aspects of naval warfare, he is particularly interested in the importance of naval logistics. It is often said that amateurs study tactics,while professionals study logistics, and this is as true in the maritime domain as any of the others. Although the focus of the Defence and Security Studies Program is normally related to current and future events, I felt that Ken’s paper was very relevant to our present time, in the sense that we appear to be entering yet another period of ‘peer vs peer’ competition, and that this competition will certainly be played out in the maritime domain, whether that be in the Arctic, the South China Sea, or the Gulf. To the extent that Western navies will be operating far from home ports in such potential areas of conflict, the critical importance of naval logistics becomes obvious. In his conclusion Ken states: “The Korean conflict demonstrated many of the classical strengths and weaknesses of sea power, highlighted the absolute requirement for a system to generate ready units for quick deployment and was a clear illustration, once again, of the crippling weakness the lack of a fully capable operational logistics system was to RCN ships on distant operations.” While this was a lesson learned for the RCN in the 1950’s, it does not appear to be a lesson yet acted upon in our current time. I hope that you will enjoy and be informed by Ken’s excellent work.

—Dr. Daniel Eustace

Ken Hansen Otter Paper