The overall concepts governing the conduct of war as envisioned by the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization altered considerably between 1952 and 1954. The effects of this alteration included the creation of a vast deterrent system consisting of strategic, theatre and tactical nuclear forces; tactical and strategic warning systems; conventional forces and civil defence forces. Each NATO member contributed a component or several components to this deterrent system, the aim being the formation of a credible means of warfighting to convince the main adversary that attempts to force war on the West would fail. Canada, as a geographically and politically critical member of NATO, chose to contribute most of her maritime forces1 as a role-specific component within the deterrent system. The integration of this component into the deterrent system has received scant attention, unlike its air defence or attack at source counterparts. This paper will examine how the Royal Canadian Navy and the maritime component of the Royal Canadian Air Force adapted to the new strategic environment between 1954 and 1962.


Originally published in The Northern Mariner