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Does Canada Educate Strategic Subalterns?

Does Canada Educate Strategic Subalterns? Does Canada Educate Strategic Subalterns?
To cite this article: Last, David, Dizboni, Ali, and Breede, H. Christian, "Does Canada Educate Strategic Subalterns?,” In nity Journal Special Edition “International Relations in Professional Military Education,” winter 2016, pages 40-49.

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Canada Honours Veterans Who Served In Afghanistan Photo


The distinction between studying strategy and practicing it is important. This article explains how strategy and international relations are taught at Canada’s Royal Military College. The idea that strategic thinking is a by-product of a broad university education is relevant to any country whose officers must think for themselves early in their careers.

RMC’s professors, military and civilian, behave like professors in other Canadian universities. This results in a curriculum not easily controlled by higher headquarters or the shifting dictates of policy, but entirely compatible with traditions of critical thinking and the democratic state. It means that the products of Canada’s military college education are more likely to be independent thinkers, even if they are not deep thinkers or strategic practitioners. It has also influenced Canada’s strategic contribution to the soft power of defence education diplomacy, through reference curricula and officer seminars. Teaching about strategy is not the same as practicing strategy, and we parse the courses offered at RMC to demonstrate that we do more of the former than the latter. Comparative studies indicate that other countries with military universities do likewise.[i]

Infinity Journal quotes Colin Gray: “Military strategy is the direction and use made of force and the threat of force for the purposes of policy as decided by politics.”[ii] The editors emphasize the instrumentality of strategy, and the tripartite conception of policy ends (what is to be achieved), strategic ways (how it is to be achieved), and military means (what military forces therefore do). Any staff-educated military officer would agree, but we question this understanding. No strategy is limited to military means, and the focus on force as an instrument is unnecessary and inappropriately limiting in foundational education. Canada’s Royal Military College was established as a school for leaders—a military instrument in a national development strategy—before Canada had a professional army in which its graduates could serve.[iii] No state pursues policy ends with exclusively military means, so the idea that strategic education of young officers should (normatively) or does (empirically) concentrate on military means must be ruled out. The emphasis on the conduct of war and military tactics is also inappropriate. Long ago, war departments became defence departments. This is not just a semantic change; few of the world’s 193 UN member states conceive of “winning wars” as their principal means of achieving security, and would be ill advised to do so. We are concerned not with “military strategy” but with the broader and more utilitarian term, strategy.

We are concerned primarily with states, because we are writing about a state institution preparing leaders to serve the state. This leads us to focus on academic disciplines privileging analysis of states, their components, interactions, and interests. These disciplines are political science and international relations, but also extend to geography, history, economics, business, and psychology. Strategy is by nature multidisciplinary.

We begin our discussion with a systems view of strategic education, and consider four ways in which it can be shaped. Canada’s approach is emergent, rather than doctrinal, directed, or referenced. We then consider university curriculum as a means of shaping strategic education. Educational theory describes curriculum as content, but also pedagogy, and the context in which the content is developed and delivered. We conclude that Canada’s RMC does not need an imposed strategy to teach strategists—that would bring danger—but its professors and practitioners must monitor emergent teaching for gaps and weaknesses. The best practices of research universities will help to guard against these problems.

Canada’s approach is relevant for any state consuming the strategic thought of others, not least to warn against the dangers of thought collectives and ideologies that serve powerful interests. As we parse the content and context of teaching that shapes thinking about strategy, we should also be aware of the role of strategic producers and epistemic communities.[iv] These common understandings are essential for collective action, but can also become the drumbeat that drives us to wars not of our making.

A systems view of strategic education

Power is an essentially contested concept, but is central to strategic thinking, particularly coercion. In Power: A Radical View, Steven Lukes introduced a third dimension to the traditional conception of power based on force and persuasion. If the first dimension is the ability to coerce, and the second dimension is the ability to influence or manipulate through the rule-sets that are applied to a decision, the third dimension is to shape the concepts by which the agenda is defined.[vi] Luke’s third dimension, system bias, illuminates the importance of strategic education:

“Decisions are choices consciously and intentionally made…whereas the bias of the system can be mobilized, recreated, and reinforced in ways that are neither consciously chosen nor the intended result of … individual choices… Is it not the supreme and most insidious exercise of power to prevent people… from having grievances… by shaping their perceptions, cognitions and preferences in such a way that they accept their role in the existing order of things..?”[vii]

Consider the Cold War defeat of materialist conceptions of history and class struggle, the prevailing neo-liberal world economic order, the narrative of the war on terror, and the nature of “freedoms” defended in expeditionary wars. For countries like Canada to have any strategic choice, professionals must be sufficiently aware to think critically about the exercise of power in pursuit of interests. They must be educated from early in their careers to interrogate the public interest, the national interest, and the nature of the private interests embedded in the third dimension of power shaping their decision-making environment. Without this strategic awareness arising from education, they can only accept their role in the existing order of things. Should that worry us?

Accepting their role in the existing order is a junior officer’s lot in life, so is strategic thinking unnecessary, or perhaps even counter-productive in pre-commissioning education? Not if we see entry-level education as part of a system of strategic education that adapts to changing circumstances. In Figure 1, we can imagine recruits socialized and educated to see the world in a particular way, before they are recruited to military colleges and academies, where they are introduced to various views of the world, often in tune with the understandings to which they might be exposed in civilian post-secondary education, though perhaps less critical of the status quo.

Figure 1 A systems view of strategic education

Curriculum at a small military college may not have much of an impact on military elites, their influence, their responses to the environment, or on learning from their responses to environment. It may have more impact if it reflects a prevailing mode of thought (which itself has an impact), or if it is able to change a prevailing mode of thought through intellectual force. It may be important to resist prevailing modes of thought. Military academies and staff colleges may be more attuned to learning strategic lessons (the leftward arrow). If so, they may be ahead of their civilian university counterparts in their response to change. This is more likely if they have the characteristics of a research university concentrating on high quality original scholarship, rather than a teaching college relaying knowledge developed elsewhere.[viii]

Curricula at military colleges may be directed by authority, guided by doctrine, established by guidelines or frameworks, or may emerge from the processes of a university. In the traditions of the university, no authority outside RMC dictates its curriculum. However, it is subject to Defence Administrative Orders and Directives that guide learning and professional development, and that collectively constitute the Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System (CFITES). A senior academic involved in developing this doctrine for RMC’s higher headquarters, the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA), recently mused about the lack of impact of these orders and directives.[ix]

Ruling out direction, and ignoring doctrine and directives, might reference curricula provide a guide to developing strategic thinkers at RMC? Following NATO’s 2004 Istanbul Declaration on a Partnership Action Plan for Defence Institution Building (PAP-DIB) the Curriculum Development Working Group of the Consortium of Defence Academies generated reference curricula for generic officer professional military education.[x] This reference curriculum assumes the pluralistic governance and permissive intellectual environment of a university. It is organized by phase (pre-commissioning, junior officer, and intermediate officer) around themes: Profession of Arms; Command, Leadership and Ethics; and Defence and Security Studies.[xi] RMC’s experience, along with 10 other participating countries, contributed to its formulation, and an RMC professor was the principal author. The reference curricula are a product of RMC’s emergent experience, rather than a guide. RMC’s curriculum is therefore the emergent product of a military university, rather than the product of direction, doctrine, or international guidelines.

An Emergent Educational Strategy

RMC’s curriculum emerges from the experience of more than sixty years of university education within RMC, producing the permissive environment and climate of interrogation described in NATO’s reference curriculum for officers. While a decision must be made to change a directed or doctrinal education strategy, an emergent strategy will adapt over time as individual subject experts adjust their content and pedagogy to new circumstances.[xii]

RMC degree programs are reviewed on a seven-year cycle, through an institutional quality assurance process (IQAP), which includes self-study and external visitors. Academic Deans and department chairs play a leadership role.[xiii] New courses are periodically added, and descriptions are approved through university governance: by the Syllabus Committee with representatives of each department; and by Faculty Council consisting of Heads and Deans. Course descriptions are brief and change rarely. Course outlines or syllabi are extensive, and change annually, but are often only available within a teaching department and to students. Exams are retained, but it is often difficult to know exactly what is going on inside classrooms, even for a department chair. Confidence in the professors is therefore essential.

In the Faculty of Arts, most teaching is by civilian professors who have the equivalent of tenure (60 of 73 faculty), however a third of arts faculty (24 of 73) are serving or retired military officers. Only about 14 percent (143 of 1021 on site courses in 2015-2016) are taught by sessional hires, but the ratio is closer to 90 percent for off-site and distance courses.

Table 1 Arts faculty distribution by department, 2015

Some departments are more significant than others for the teaching of strategy. Early in RMC’s life, diplomatic and military history dominated the teaching of international relations and questions of national and military strategy. A survey of course descriptions shows that history continued to provide the largest number of courses with international content into the 1990s, despite a steady rise in political science courses, and the addition of new courses in psychology, management, and even languages that are relevant to international relations and strategic thought.[xv]

Student choice of courses and programs is not entirely free. Cadets come to RMC having been assigned to military occupations. Some occupations demand specified degree patterns. Engineers require engineering or science degrees. Logisticians may require a business or management degree. These are choices made outside RMC by branches and services of the Canadian Forces. A decision made inside RMC concerns the subjects of the “core curriculum” required of all cadets regardless of degree program.

The international and strategic content of curriculum

Strategy is understood to be a multidisciplinary study, encompassing political, historical, economic, and other subjects affecting the utility of force and the pursuit of national objectives. The program Military and Strategic Studies, typically attracting about ten percent of RMC students, includes history, politics, and psychology courses in an 8:4:2 ratio. But to describe what is taught about international relations and strategy across RMC’s curriculum, we need to deduce relevant categories from course descriptions.

Freedman argues that the concept of strategy has consistently eluded definition. It has broadened from its roots as the art of the general—strategos in Ancient Greek—to any situation influenced by the actions of an opponent. A recent text aimed at undergraduates studying strategy offers eight different definitions that range from narrow concepts of the application of military power to broader ideas of what constitutes national power. Colin Gray provides a definition involving 17 dimensions across three categories. His categories of ‘people’ and ‘war,’ for example, can be thought of as part of the structure and relationships within which strategy is pursued.

With these concepts in mind, we can parse the content of RMC courses relevant to the theory and practice of strategy. Describing and analyzing Clausewitz or Sun Tzu represents theory; playing the board game Risk, or participating in a Model NATO simulation represents practice. In the appendix, we identify for each course the categories of strategic thought and practice to which cadets are exposed. Three of our categories apply to the theory of strategy, and two apply to its practice, although these categories obviously intersect.

Figure 2 Deduced categories of strategic and international content in RMC courses

RMC’s core curriculum represents a liberal education. It includes mandatory courses in mathematics, chemistry, physics, information technology, literature, history, psychology, and political science, for all degree programs. Amongst the mandatory credits, two are particularly relevant to strategic thinking. An Introduction to Military History and Thought, from Napoleon to the present (History 271) uses the Paret textbook, Makers of Modern Strategy, and familiarizes students with the canon of strategic thought and its impact on war: Clausewitz, Moltke, Mahan, Douhet, Kahn, Schelling and others. Students are usually told about strategic thinking and resulting strategies, rather than undertaking exercises to think strategically or develop strategies; they study strategy without practicing it.

The second core course with strategic content is An Introduction to International Relations, (Politics 116). It addresses theories (realism, liberalism, constructivism, and so on) and their utility for describing and analyzing international events. Cases involve foreign policy-making, national interest, security and weapons technology, regional and global organizations, international political economy, and globalization. This is a lecture and discussion course, with a newly introduced burden-sharing simulation in four of 13 sessions.

All cadets take An Introduction to Military History and Thought, and cadets in science or arts degree programs take An Introduction to International Relations. Students in engineering (about 40 percent of cadets) substitute a course on technology and society to fulfill the requirements for engineering accreditation. More than 70 course descriptions in the current course calendar have some international or strategic content, but enrolment in most courses is a fraction of the cadet body.[xviii] Choice of electives and the credit system make it difficult to generalize, but most cadets in the Faculty of Arts have probably taken two or three courses with international or strategic content in addition to the mandatory courses listed above. We have listed courses in an appendix, with our assessment of strategic content and average enrolment.

History and political science (including political geography) account for the largest number of courses with strategic or international content – 33 and 25 respectively. The most common category by far is theoretical approaches to strategic relationships—geographical relationships in political geography, or alliances and hostilities in histories of warfare, diplomacy, and great power interactions. Strategic thought—by philosophers of war like Thucydides, Sun Tzu or Clausewitz, or “great captains” like Marlborough, Napoleon, or Eisenhower—is also found mainly in history. Political science includes theories of international relations, and functional models of deterrence, and strategy. The structures within which strategy is pursued—international institutions, norms and rules of international behaviour, international law, and political and economic organizations—are addressed mainly in political science courses. Strategic insight (knowing yourself and understanding the motivations and intentions of others) is found in psychology and business courses, and courses on international literature.

The most striking observation from our survey of course descriptions is the dearth of strategic practice relevant to international conflict and national security. The small number of students participating in Model UN and Model NATO simulations will be augmented from this year with a new simulation integral to the core international relations course. Outside this, only cadets majoring in business are required to take courses with practical (business) strategy exercises implied in course descriptions.

Our categorization is loose, and could be argued for each course. Course descriptions do not constrain pedagogy, so a course on the history of relations between Canada and the US or on the diplomacy of Europe’s ascendancy might be taught through content-heavy lectures alone, or augmented with simulations, “what-if” scenario-building, and strategy games testing the application of concepts.

Research on higher education and professional development at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) emphasises that curriculum is not limited to content, but includes the context in which the material is developed and presented, and the pedagogy used to engage the students in learning the material.[xix] We have addressed above RMC’s internal institutional context, and will consider below the external context and the evolution of pedagogy.

The external context of curriculum

What is going on outside the college affects how professors develop and present their material, and how students learn. Cadets have an intense personal interest in events that are likely to affect their lives, welfare, and careers. Professors, a third with military experience, are also driven by their experiences. We can think of the external context for teaching strategy and international relations as a layered hierarchy, with the curriculum content and pedagogy at the centre. Government policies and pronouncements, including the frameworks and directives for implementing them, have an effect. The International Policy Statement, the Canada First Defence Policy, Arctic sovereignty, and Millennium Development Goals, have all appeared in recent course syllabi. Beyond these pronouncements are national and international circumstances and events, which are connected and overlapping. But when these external events make their way into content, they do so through the vehicle of pedagogy, which is shaped by the lenses professors bring to their teaching: theoretical lenses like realism and constructivism; disciplinary lenses like history, economics, and politics; institutional lenses, which consist of the rules governing us; organizational lenses, which consist of the people to whom we are connected; and personal lenses reflecting our individual experiences (Figure 3). Professors inevitably reproduce these lenses through teaching—consciously or inadvertently, effectively or incompletely—but lenses are also adjusted over time (learning occurs in both directions).[xx]

Professors are aware of international and national events, and may make a conscious effort to relate current events or broad patterns to the content of their courses. Cadets studying at RMC are aware that national and international events affect them. Post-Cold War enthusiasm for peacekeeping and stabilization, and the sudden impact of 9/11 and America’s wars on terrorism affected some course titles and descriptions. Seminars, student presentations, simulations, assignments, research projects, and conferences were all tilted towards the new themes of the day. Notwithstanding this superficial topicality, the basic frameworks for teaching history and political science – the disciplinary lenses through which professors view their subjects – follow the rhythm of scholarly publications and associations, not newscasts.

Figure 3 Content, pedagogy, and context for teaching strategy

Pedagogical choices and innovation

Pedagogy in the classroom—the method and practice of teaching—is the responsibility of individual professors. Institutional quality assurance provides feedback at the end of each course on organization, professionalism in the class, general impressions, and student participation. The format would be familiar in most Canadian civilian universities. The feedback goes to professors, Department Heads, and Deans, but is not very useful for revising or improving course delivery; conversations with students and colleagues are more commonly cited as reasons for changing pedagogy. An annual award for teaching excellence encourages innovation, but collaboration across departmental and disciplinary boundaries remains rare.

A recent volume, Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations, has several chapters relevant to teaching strategic studies and international relations at a military college. In “Teaching to Practitioners,” John Craig advocates putting practical experience to work in theory-driven cases, in order to give practitioners a context to analyze their experiences.[xxi] This is obviously applicable to mid-career staff college courses where students have a decade or more of service, but it highlights that most cadets have little relevant experience. Practitioner-instructors must fill this gap by providing the bridge between theory and practice. Experience is not limited to military instructors. Periodically, RMC has been fortunate to have politicians, police officers, bureaucrats, lawyers, diplomats, and international civil servants in the classroom. One particularly effective professor, a former defence scientist and policy analyst, reflected on the decision to teach for praxis:

“…as an undergrad & grad student I was generally taught in a way that was most suited to me becoming a professor. That was something I had never intended … So, I tried to teach … in a way that offered students what I always referred to as a toolkit that they might use in their professional careers. I avoided consciously teaching them to become professors.”[xxii]

This represents an important departure from normal university practice in the arts, where most professors are career academics, but it is common in professional schools for medicine, engineering, business and law. Even amongst the two thirds of arts faculty professors who are more conventional academics (Table 1) there is a sense of vocation for teaching young officers, which is reflected in decisions about classroom management. The opportunity to accompany cadets on battlefield tours also represents an important form of socialization for professors, and this influences pedagogy.[xxiii]

The majority of classes are conducted as lectures (if larger than 30) and seminars with student presentations and discussions (if the teaching ratio permits). The Oxford tutorial method, in which a tutor provides readings for a small number of students to digest and analyze through interaction with the tutor, is particularly suited to the small class size of many of the upper year electives.[xixv] But it does not encourage simulations and applied knowledge in realistic scenarios. Internships with other government departments and summer on-job education are limited to three or four openings per year.

A semi-annual Forum on Technological & Pedagogical Innovation in Education, sponsored by the Dean of Continuing Studies, offers an opportunity to share innovations and experiments, and these seem to be accelerating. Recent presentations have addressed research on use of electronic books, critical thinking seminars, use of student response devices in large classes (clicker systems), and use of social media in language teaching. The unit of analysis, however, seems to be limited to the individual course, rather than to programs and the integration of the broader curriculum along themes like strategic thinking. We can refer again to Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations for guidance. Andreas Broscheid describes principles for developing team-based learning,[xxv] and we can imagine this being applied across disciplines drawing on economics, political science, and business administration in a multidisciplinary learning community.[xxvi] This may be precisely the pedagogy necessary to develop strategic thinking for new challenges in a world of corporations larger than states, state enterprises engaged in national security, and free-market principles eroding human security. We have not achieved this level of integration, and meeting disciplinary standards within each academic department militates against progress.

RMC’s classrooms do not operate in isolation. In the sequence of officer education, RMC represents the first professional development period, or DP1. Mid-career joint command and Staff College constitutes DP3, and Colonels and Generals or Flag Officers are developed through formal courses and experience at DP4 and DP5.[xxvii] Senior civil servants and military officers assembled in Ottawa in June 2015 for the third of a series of conferences on the state of national security practitioners in Canada. The series is driven by problems experienced by the Government of Canada as a whole as it navigates new challenges to national security like extremism and environmental degradation, as well as new tools and capabilities like the controversial anti-terror legislation Bill C-51. The need for sound strategic judgement has never been more evident.[xxviii] Military thinkers play an important role in this process. The liberal dispersion of RMC graduates at every level—in uniform and out—is testimony to the relevance of the core curriculum, and the wide range of electives.


Teaching international relations and strategic studies to officer cadets before commissioning does not constitute teaching strategic practice. Canada’s RMC does not have a strategy for teaching strategic thinkers, nor for integrating strategic thought into its courses on international relations. What is taught, and how it is taught, emerges from the internal processes of a military university. The collective governance of course descriptions and program contents is contingent upon faculty hires, tenure, and academic freedom in the classroom. This constitutes an emergent strategy by default. The Canadian Forces Individual Training and Education System represents an invisible support to this default, by providing mechanisms for individual course accreditation, equivalencies, and educational advancement. The fact that educators are oblivious to it is not important. Nor have NATO reference curricula impinged on RMC’s offerings; rather, the influence has been in the other direction. This may continue as long as RMC operates like a university—innovating and developing course materials based on research independent of direction or policy. University practices are a bulwark against directives and policies that may be the products of short-term expedience, managerial ambition, and the ignorance of generalists in situ for short periods, focused on servicing partisan political or personal rather than public interests.[xxix] Soldier-scholars, civilian experts, and learning subalterns in a military university, teaching and learning the ropes of political science, economics, international relations, and the theory and practice of strategy are a vital resource for elite decision-makers.

There are risks inherent in an emergent educational strategy. The first risk is that the characteristics of a research university can be lost due to scarce resources or top-down meddling—directives and policies inimical to free enquiry. The second is that free enquiry won’t meet policy need; the university may not have the mass or dynamism to respond effectively to its environment, and to meet the needs of policy-makers and practicing strategists. These two dangers are mutually reinforcing; we face a virtuous circle of research excellence, enhanced reputation, and benign neglect permitting research excellence, or a vicious circle of irrelevance, resource cuts, and marginalization, exacerbating irrelevance and resource cuts.[xxx] The systems view of strategic education, and the presence of RMC graduates in many government departments and agencies concerned with national security give us the opportunity for synergies that make a virtuous circle more likely, but not inevitable.

A third risk is evident in RMC’s heavy weighting towards theory—students do more studying, and less practice. This reflects the demands of education in international relations, political science, economics, history, and the other academic disciplines. Competent gamers without a broad education are unlikely to have a sophisticated and worldly understanding of events, causes and effects. But learning within each discipline is inherently constrained:

“Historical knowledge is necessary but insufficient in strategic analysis… …good strategic analysis is high-end political analysis—which is a very interdisciplinary business…From the perspective of strategic analysis, most of the complex theories of IR are useless. [Strategic analysts] … need techniques that allow open and objective critique… So, forecasting techniques such as Bayesian analysis, various kinds of trend analysis, risk analysis, multiple criteria decision analysis, the theory of games, and conflict analysis were all techniques that were used.”[xxxi]

There is remarkably little conflict analysis in RMC’s undergraduate program, underscoring the significance of individual faculty skills in shaping the curriculum. Hires are important, and help to shape the research and teaching programs available to the academic core of the military university.

We conclude that Canada’s RMC does not need an imposed strategy to teach strategic practitioners. That would bring greater risk of the vicious circle of marginal quality and declining relevance. But professors and practitioners together must monitor the emergent educational strategy for gaps and weaknesses. These go beyond the weakness of disciplinary schisms alluded to by practitioners like Jim Finan. They extend to prevailing modes of thought. Like most countries, Canada is a strategic consumer, buffeted by the strategies and thinking of the US. Emerging challenges like survival migration, food security, global climate change, and epidemic disease should change the ways we think about the use of military assets to achieve security.

A research university with free enquiry and a flexible curriculum can hedge against the unknown better than directions and policies. Connections with government, the flow-through of practitioners, and the integration of undergraduate and graduate teaching are also strengths of the emergent educational strategy. They represent a comparative advantage for smaller countries like Canada.


[“Appendix: Strategic and International Content of Courses listed in RMC Undergraduate Calendar, 2014-2015″ is available in the PDF version of this Special Edition. Please download the PDF version for the full appendix.]


[i] The Global Security Education Project is a long term research collaboration with participants in more than 20 countries ( )
[ii] Colin S. Gray, The Strategy Bridge: Theory for Practice (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), p.262, cited by Infinity Journal, “What is Strategy?”
[iii] Preston, Richard Arthur. Canada’s RMC: A history of the Royal Military College. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1969), Introduction.
[iv] David Last, “Irritants to Pearls: Military Education, Epistemic Communities, Communities of Practice and Networks of Learning,” presented at the International Society of Military Sciences, Vienna, October 2014.
[v] Walter Gallie, Philosophy and the Historical Understanding, New York: Schocken Books, 1964.
[vi] Lukes, Steven. Power: A radical view. (London: Macmillan, 1974) 14-33. Lukes has been regularly cited since 2000 in public administration and education research.
[vii] Ibid., pp. 25 and 28.
[viii] John V. Lombardi, How Universities Work (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins, University Press, 2013), Chapter 1.
[ix] “Does military education need a doctrine? The Case of Canada,” Global Security Education Project, Collaborative Research Space, Forums, accessed 18 June 2015
[x] Generic Officer PME Defence Curriculum, NATO Partnership Action Plan for Defence Institution Building, 2011. Hereafter, NATO PAP-DIB (2011)
[xi] NATO PAB-DIB (2011) p. 5
[xii] We explore evolution further in the article, David Last, Ali Dizboni, Christian Breede, “Teaching International Relations at Canada’s Royal Military College: Sixty years of evolution and its implications,” forthcoming.
[xiii] Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) Manual. Kingston, ON: Royal Military College of Canada, 2010.
[xiv] Formerly the Department of Business Administration
[xv] Current course descriptions can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar at A survey of historical course descriptions is available online at
[xvi] Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy, 3rd Edition (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2003), xviii.
[xvii] John Baylis and James J. Wirtz, “Strategy in the Contemporary World: Strategy After 9/11” in John Baylis, James J. Wirtz, and Colin S. Gray eds. Strategy in the Contemporary World 4th Edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 5
[xviii] For simplicity and consistency, we discuss only English-language courses and content. Most courses and all programs are offered in both French and English. Francophone cadets make up about 24 percent of the cadet wing, and about 40 percent of courses offered are taught in French in any given year, although taken by only about 20 percent of students, because many Francophones take courses in English, but the reverse is not true. Enrolment ratio is discussed in the appendix.
[xix] Interview, Linda Muzzin, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE), 4 February 2015; Gary Thomas, Education: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2013), Chapter 6.
[xx] Two main bodies of literature support this conceptualization: educational theory and the sociology of knowledge. There is a lot of work on primary and secondary school teaching, but the work on higher education and professional development is of more interest, Muzzin, 2015.
[xxi] John Craig, “Teaching Politics to Practitioners,” in Handbook on Teaching and Learning in Political Science and International Relations, John Ishimaya, William J. Miller, and Eszter Simon, editors. (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2015), 28-34.
[xxii] Correspondence from Dr. James Finan, strategic policy analyst and professor emeritus, 2 June 2015.
[xxiv] Robert J. Beck, “Towards a Pedagogy of the Oxford Tutorial.” Irvine, CA: University of California, 2007.
[xxv] Andreas Broscheid, “Designing Team Based Learning Activities,” in Ishiyama et al (2015), 340-350.
[xxvi] Brenda Kauffman, “Multidisciplinary approaches to teaching political science,” in Ishiyama et al (2015), 111-120.
[xxvii] Programs and Qualifications, [online] accessed 29 June, 2015.
[xxviii] “What Got You Here, Might Not Get You There”: Developing National Security Practitioners for the 21st Century, Conference held at The Library Room, Diefenbaker Building, Old City Hall, Ottawa, Ontario, 18th June, 2015.
[xxix] Donald Savoie, What is Government Good at? A Canadian Answer. Kingston: McGill-Queen’s Press, 2015, (pre-publication).
[xxx] For more on the dynamics of the research university and the competing pressures of a “quality engine”, see John V. Lombardi, How Universities Work, Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013, especially chapters 1 and 6.
[xxxi] Correspondence from Dr. James Finan, former strategic policy analyst and professor emeritus, 2 June 2015. In his correspondence, he cited Thomas L. Saaty, Decision Making for Leaders: The Analytical Hierarchy Process for Decisions in a Complex World, London: Wadsworth, 1982; and Niall M. Fraser and Kieth Hipel, Conflict Analysis: Models and Resolutions, New York: North-Holland, 1984.