The next three chapters in this volume form a detailed narrative summary of events, actions and decisions relating to the Somalia operation. In chapters 3 to 11 we presented the context in which the Somalia mission took place. In chapters 12 through 14 we describe, on the basis of evidence and in narrative form, the events and actions that define the issues. Chapter 12 concerns what happened before Canada agreed to participate in the mission to Somalia, chapter 13 deals with the events that took place during the deployment, and chapter 14 recounts what occurred after the Canadian Forces arrived home. In this narrative account, we identify various points where we suspect the existence of systemic problems. Then in the three remaining volumes of this report, we provide an analysis of those suspicions and our findings and recommendations.
During the early months of 1992, the political situation in Somalia was deteriorating rapidly. The downfall in January 1991 of Somalia's president, Siad Barre, led to an extended and often violent power struggle among clans and factions in many parts of the country. The two largest factions, located mainly in the central and southern areas of the country, were a group of United Somali Congress (USC) members who supported the interim President of Somalia, Mohammed Ali Mahdi and a rival group, also from the USC, which supported the USC Chairman, General Mohammed Farah Aideed.
These two groups controlled upwards of 50,000 militia, armed with Soviet tanks, artillery, and vast quantities of lighter weapons and ammunition to fuel their rivalries. Fighting had erupted in Mogadishu and spread throughout Somalia as well. Heavily armed elements controlled various parts of the country, with alliances developing and breaking down as time passed and hostilities persisted. Adding to the physical destruction and political chaos were groups of bandits unattached to the more organized fighting factions.
There was no functioning central government, and many of the de facto authorities were refusing to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid. In-bound ships carrying relief supplies were blocked from docking and, on one occasion, had even been shelled. The airport at Mogadishu had also been attacked.
By the fall of 1992, it was estimated that as many as 300,000 people had died in the previous 12 months, and at least 1.5 million more were immediately at risk of dying. UN reports estimated that approximately 4.5 million Somalis -- over half the estimated population, the majority of whom lived in rural parts of the country -- were suffering severe malnutrition and related diseases. Hundreds of thousands more were forced to flee their homes. The country was in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
To UN mediators, Somalia was a complicated mixture of both formal and informal institutions and infrastructures. Although anarchy appeared to reign, there was still a degree of order within individual clans. There were also geographical differences, in that while the central and southern regions were severely affected by the fighting and by famine and refugees (Belet Huen was in central Somalia), the northern area of Somalia (the old British protectorate of Somaliland, where Bossasso is located) was relatively calm, with a friendly population and a clear, recognizable pattern of authority. The latter area was controlled by another faction, known as the Democratic Front for the Salvation of Somalia (SSDF).
Although there had been a sporadic UN presence in Somalia throughout 1991 and early 1992, the deteriorating situation in the central and southern areas demanded a more concentrated international effort. In January 1992, at the initiative of the departing UN Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar, a UN team travelled to Somalia to assess the situation. As a result of the visit, all the factions except for that of General Aideed agreed to a cease-fire within Mogadishu. The UN Secretary-General then succeeded in securing a UN resolution to undertake action in conjunction with other international organizations to increase humanitarian assistance to the civilian population.
The Department of External Affairs was first notified by its Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York of a possible UN action in Somalia in early January 1992. However, there was consensus among UN member nations that the volatility of events and lack of a negotiated cease-fire precluded a peacekeeping mission.
By March 1992, the UN was fully engaged in humanitarian efforts in Somalia. But over the following months, the volatile situation forced the UN on a number of occasions to withdraw its personnel from Somalia, even though it continued its efforts through the co-operation and collaboration of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and a number of other non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
During the early months of 1992, the Department of External Affairs and the Department of National Defence (DND) continued to receive reports of the humanitarian aid crisis unfolding in Somalia, although Canada had no diplomatic or military presence in that country. In March, Canada's Ambassador to the UN wrote to the Secretary-General to express support for the UN's efforts, confirming that Canada would participate in a mission to deliver food and other humanitarian supplies, once the UN was in a position to ensure the security of its force.
Discussions about possible Canadian participation in a UN or other operation in Somalia first took place through largely informal channels, involving Canadian representatives at UN headquarters in New York, officials in External Affairs, and senior civil servants and officers at National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in Ottawa. The formal decision to participate in peacekeeping missions, and agreement as to the scope of a prospective mission, were the responsibility of Cabinet, after having received information and recommendations from the departments of External Affairs and National Defence.
While both departments shared (and still share) responsibility for advising Cabinet on decisions regarding peacekeeping activities, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (External Affairs at the time of the Somalia mission) has the overall responsibility as part of Canada's foreign policy for conducting relations with the UN and, accordingly, assumes the lead role in the decision-making process. At the time Somalia was in crisis, a representative of the Department of External Affairs would have routinely analyzed the UN request from the perspective of Canada's foreign policy, then worked with DND officials to co-ordinate the Canadian response.
Within DND, the lead position for all initial peacekeeping matters prior to a formal commitment is the assistant deputy minister (Policy and Communications). At the time Somalia was being discussed, this was Dr. Kenneth Calder, a civilian who reported jointly to the Deputy Minister (DM), Robert Fowler, and to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Gen John de Chastelain who was primarily responsible for any advice given on peacekeeping. Once a commitment was made to the UN, the responsibility shifted to the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (DCDS), who then took over the "co-ordination of planning, structuring, mounting, deployment, command and control, sustainment and redeployment of the force."
While the Department of External Affairs would consider the request from a foreign policy perspective, NDHQ would analyze the proposed mission from both policy and operational perspectives in order to develop a response to the UN request. For the analysis leading up to a possible commitment to send troops to Somalia, officers and officials in NDHQ were guided by certain policies.
The main policy document was the 1987 white Paper on Defence, which contained seven criteria intended to be used to evaluate the proposed peacekeeping operation. Although these criteria had evolved over the years, they were considered to be the only available means to reach an informed accountable decision. When the request was made by the UN for a Canadian contingent to go to Somalia as part of the United Nations Operations in Somalia force, seven criteria were in effect.
These criteria required that there be a clear and enforceable mandate and that the principal antagonists agree to a cease-fire and to Canada's participation. They called for a mandate that would serve the cause of peace and have a good chance of leading to a political settlement in the long term. They also required that the size and composition of the force be appropriate to the mandate and that Canada's involvement not jeopardize other commitments. A single identifiable authority would be expected to oversee the proposed operation and, finally, Canada would expect the mission to be equitably funded.
However, senior officers and officials in the Department of National Defence played down the significance of these policy guidelines in the decision-making process. Moreover, both the Deputy Minister and the CDS maintained that the guidelines were "significantly" flexible and were taken into account only "somewhat, not in any particular detail".
Mr. Fowler later indicated in his testimony before us that the criteria were not generally used like a checklist and that if they had been applied to the situation in Somalia, very few of them would have made any sense. Gen de Chastelain agreed with this assessment, although a 1992 defence policy paper stated that these guidelines were policy that should have been followed.
It was not until April 1992 that the first formal UN operation to provide humanitarian assistance to Somalia was established. In April, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 751, under the authority of Chapter VI of the UN Charter, to form the United Nations Operation in Somalia, known as UNOSOM. Operations under Chapter VI provide for the use of force only in self-defence in the peaceful settlement of disputes under international law. Canada was approached at that time to participate in the UN operation.
After review of the UN request by officers and officials at NDHQ, the Department of External Affairs asked Canada's Permanent Mission to the United Nations to register Canada's security concerns and to determine whether the UN resolution could be revised to ensure that appropriate security and safety measures were in place. Also, the DM and the CDS had recommended to the Minister of National Defence (MND) that the Minister advise the Department of External Affairs to decline the UN's informal request.
The reasons for this recommendation were based on the failure of the proposed UN mission at that stage to meet Canada's policy criteria on several different issues. The mandate was uncertain; the adequacy of the agreements obtained from the rival leaders was doubtful; and, most important from NDHQ's perspective, there were serious safety concerns that had already been acknowledged by the UN. This recommendation was accepted by the Minister, and although plans continued at the UN for the deployment of military observers, Canada continued only to monitor the situation.
Throughout the spring and summer of 1992, difficulties were encountered in arranging the deployment of UN observers and technical advisers, and revisions to the mission were already being considered by UN negotiators. At the end of July 1992, the deployment of UN observers was finally permitted. But by then, the food crisis was also escalating, and the Secretary-General believed that the situation in Somalia was not receiving the attention it deserved from the international community.
On July 28, 1992, Gen de Chastelain directed staff at NDHQ to conduct a feasibility study to determine the capability of the Canadian Forces (CF) to provide a battalion to Somalia, should one be required. However, he reiterated to UN officials that Canada would not send observers or other troops into the country without a security battalion. It had been mentioned even during these preliminary discussions in Canada that the Canadian Airborne Regiment (CAR) would be a possible unit for such a peace support commitment.
Aware of the threat of mass starvation, which was being graphically portrayed in worldwide media coverage, the UN Secretary-General issued an appeal to member states for all forms of humanitarian assistance. Canada agreed, in an August 13, 1992 letter from Prime Minister Brian Mulroney to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, to participate in an airlift of relief supplies, designated Operation Relief, even before its commitment to the UNOSOM mission.
By late August the situation in Somalia had deteriorated significantly. Throughout the country, there were repeated sporadic outbreaks of hostilities and a proliferation of armed banditry. The humanitarian crisis continued because of the lack of security, despite the fact that the UN had the actual capacity to provide increased aid.
While acknowledging the importance of the airlift operation in the delivery of food and other supplies, the Secretary-General reported to the Security Council that "current security conditions do not permit the assured delivery of humanitarian assistance by overland transport and are thus the main cause of the current food crisis in Somalia." He made it clear that this approach neither eliminated the need nor could substitute for assistance in land-based distribution of aid.
Finally, in late August 1992, the Security Council approved, through Resolution 775, a plan proposed by the Secretary-General to deploy four security units of 750 troops each, one to each of the four operational zones identified earlier by the UN. After an amendment to include the deployment of three logistics units, the final version of the UNOSOM mandate was complete.
The security-reinforced UN force was given the responsibility to provide protection and security to UN personnel, equipment, and supplies (at first in Mogadishu, and later in the four operational zones); to escort deliveries of humanitarian supplies to distribution centres; and to provide security for UN personnel, equipment, and supplies at the airports in Somalia. Its main goal was to provide UN convoys with a sufficiently strong military escort to deter attacks. To perform these tasks adequately, the UN force was authorized to fire effectively in self-defence if deterrence should not prove sufficient.
By the time the official UN request for troops was received, plans for a formal response from Canada were well under way. The Prime Minister had indicated support through his previous pledge to contribute troops to an expanded UNOSOM in August 1992 and in correspondence to the MND. In late August, the DM and the CDS, after outlining the situation for the Minister, recommended that Canada agree to undertake relief operations in Somalia, subject to conditions concerning the length of the commitment and relief from its previously agreed-to involvement in Operation Python in the Western Sahara, a UN operation that was planned for but later cancelled.
Unlike the usual practice, the formal UN request for an infantry battalion had been forwarded to Canada's Permanent Mission in New York before Canada formally acceded, although it was apparent that a positive response from Canada would indeed be forthcoming. Reports from the Permanent Mission had indicated that officials believed it would be seen as a significant accomplishment internationally if Canada were able to respond quickly and decisively to the UN request.
The decision of the Government of Canada to participate in UNOSOM was made formally only after the Security Council had explicitly authorized the deployment of security personnel, in addition to the peacekeeping force authorized under the operation's initial mandate. UNOSOM's original mandate under Resolution 751 was considered by a number of countries, Canada included, to have been limited fundamentally by a critical flaw in the plan. The UN had not been able to secure the consent of General Aideed to the proposed plan for security personnel, despite its recommendation by UN representatives and support from rival leader Mohammed Ali Mahdi.
In Canada, peacekeeping has long been thought of as a significant achievement of both foreign affairs and defence policy. This public and political support originated with the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Lester Pearson for proposing that the UN deploy peacekeeping units to monitor a cease-fire in the 1956 Suez crisis. In 1993, the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs reported that it was the "sole military activity that Canadians support". Nevertheless, government white papers on defence, produced between 1964 and 1994, and many other policy statements have consistently ranked peacekeeping as an ancillary function of the Canadian Forces.
Canada's longstanding involvement in peacekeeping is seen to have enhanced our international profile as a middle power in international affairs. It is also considered to have contributed to Canada's stature and influence at the UN. During the Cold War, Canada's main strategic concern was to avoid or prevent the escalation of hostilities between the superpowers that would threaten Canada's national security through direct or collateral attack. The end of the Cold War diminished concern about such confrontations and the threat of war as a rationale for Canada's involvement in peacekeeping activities.
Despite Canada's distinguished role as peacekeeper, the Canadian military has been reluctant to embrace peacekeeping as a priority in defence policy. Its first priority remains the retention and advancement of its combat capabilities for the protection of Canadians and their interests and values at home and abroad, notwithstanding the fact that since the end of the Cold War, combat responsibilities have greatly diminished.
While it is generally accepted that combat capability is required for deployment on UN missions, it has also become increasingly apparent that concentration on combat capability alone may affect the development of appropriate training and operational procedures for a new generation of peacekeeping-type operations. Members of the CF knew little about Somalia before the Canadian government made its commitment to the UN's mission in that troubled country.
While Canadian diplomats, civil servants, and senior military officers were considering the possibility of sending Canadian forces to Somalia, the Canadian Airborne Regiment (CAR) had reverted to its status as Canada's UN standby unit in February 1992, after an operation for which it had been assigned and for which it had trained intensively was cancelled.
That mission, Operation Python, was a projected UN operation in the Western Sahara, where a referendum was to determine whether Western Saharans would claim national independence or integrate with Morocco. Canada was to have provided a battalion to assist in ensuring a free and fair vote. Reportedly, the order to stand down affected the morale of the CAR. It represented another on-again-off-again kind of frustration caused by gearing up for major exercises followed by last-minute cancellations. As later events were to indicate, this may also have taken its toll on discipline within the regiment.
At the beginning of September 1992 just as a press release was issued announcing Canada's participation in UNOSOM, the CDS was briefed on contingency planning for the Somalia operation by military officers from Force Mobile Command (FMC, now Land Force Command, or LFC). Although the CDS was ultimately responsible and accountable in the chain of command for reviewing and approving the proposed plan and organizational structure, and had stated in July that the CAR was the ideal unit for a Somalia mission, it was the Commander Land Force Command who, at this stage of planning, formally decided that the CAR would go to Somalia.
The CAR had a relatively brief existence in Canadian military history. As discussed in Chapter 9, organization for the Regiment began in 1966, under Gen J.V Allard. The plans included the development of an airborne capability in the form of a composite unit to address a number of specialized purposes such as a small-scale northern defence, short-notice response to UN requests for peacekeeping forces, operations in limited or general war within the context of a larger allied force, and domestic operations in response to civil authorities.
When it was created formally in 1968, the CAR was organized as a unit of the CF within Force Mobile Command. The unit was originally organized as a mini-brigade consisting of approximately 900 members. To join the Regiment, soldiers had to have served at least four years in the army and have, or qualify to have, the rank of corporal. Originally, it had been considered, in part, an operational training unit, so that the resulting tougher physical conditioning and sharper mental attitude eventually would be diffused throughout the regular army. Members of the CAR were to return to their parent units after two or three years in the Regiment. However, some of these original requirements changed in subsequent years.
The Regiment originally had its own regimental headquarters and six units: the Airborne headquarters and Signal Squadron which provided communications and headquarters functions; two infantry commandos (1 Commando and 2 Commando); a field artillery unit; and combat and service support units. The regimental commander exercised the powers of a commander of a formation. The Royal 22e Régiment provided soldiers for 1 Commando; The Royal Canadian Regiment and the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry for 2 Commando. When 3 Commando was added later to the complement of CAR troops, it drew exclusively from The Royal Canadian Regiment. All three regiments contributed soldiers for the key positions in the headquarters and service commandos.
The CAR was only two years old when it undertook its first operational mission -- to help secure Montreal in the troubled days of the 1970 October Crisis. In April 1974, 1 Commando was sent to Cyprus on the Regiment's first overseas posting, a mission that was conducted with honour under very difficult conditions. The CAR returned to Cyprus for two additional tours in 1981 and 1986-87. It also prepared for other deployments -- to Namibia in the early 1980s and the Western Sahara (Operation Python) in 1991, although, finally, neither of these operations took place.
Although the Somalia mission was to be the CAR's last deployment and possibly its most troubled experience, the Regiment had faced numerous controversies and repeated upheaval in its short history. Structural and other organizational weaknesses within the CAR had become apparent by the mid-1980s. Its move from western Canada to CFB Petawawa in Ontario was also considered to have contributed to the Regiment's instability and subsequent disciplinary problems.
Concern that Special Service Force (SSF) and CAR soldiers were not conducting themselves with proper discipline was not new. Although troops returning from Cyprus in the fall of 1981 had been told by their Commanding Officer that they had carried out their duties in an "exemplary manner" and had "excelled" in operations, a barroom incident in Nicosia involving 1 Commando soldiers gave an early indication of disciplinary problems within the Regiment. In 1982, the new Commanding Officer noted with concern a growing laxness within the unit, which he attributed to its structure and to the manpower selection system in place.
By 1984, however, discipline at CFB Petawawa had deteriorated to such an extent that the SSF Commander was forced to take action. In a memo sent to base commanding officers, he warned of indications of a lack of control over soldiers, disobedience, increased incidences of impaired driving offences, inadequate control of stores, ammunition, equipment, pyrotechnics, and weapons, resulting in thefts or losses, and cases of assault. A 1985 incident in Fort Coulonge, involving a Canadian Airborne soldier who had been embroiled in a brawl and killed a civilian with a machete, was a further impetus to the commissioning of a full review.
In 1985, the CDS ordered a study to review infractions and antisocial behaviour within Force Mobile Command, and in particular in the SSF of which the Airborne was a part. This study, known as the Hewson report, after its chairman, MGen C.W. (Bill) Hewson, then Chief of Intelligence and Security, made several observations and conclusions about the state of the CAR at that time. Issues raised in this report were to reverberate in the Regiment's experience in the months leading up to and during its deployment to Somalia.
The report concluded that the SSF displayed a higher rate of violent crime than other Force Mobile Command formations, and that the 1 Royal Canadian Regiment and the Canadian Airborne had a higher incidence of assaults than did other SSF units. Although the CDS had considered disbanding the CAR following the incident at Fort Coulonge, the report expressly refrained from making radical recommendations.
MGen Hewson had expressed the opinion that only mature, trained infantry soldiers should be eligible to serve in the Canadian Airborne, and that battalions and career managers needed to co-operate to ensure the suitable staffing of the Regiment. He observed as well that the Regiment's junior officers and non-commissioned officers needed to establish closer rapport with the soldiers.
While he acknowledged that most non-commissioned members were outstanding soldiers and leaders, he commented that some weak junior non-commissioned officers had contributed directly to the breakdown in discipline. He also noted some problems related to the disciplinary powers of the officers commanding the commandos and to the seeming reluctance of some commanding officers to empower non-commissioned members to lay charges. Finally, he recommended that qualified specialists examine the incidence of alcoholism at CFB Petawawa.
Senior officers in the CF appeared initially to support the conclusions and recommendations in the Hewson report. LGen Belzile, Commander Force Mobile Command, reported to the CDS that he intended to act quickly to address the problems within his sphere of responsibility. But by 1986 the Assistant Deputy Minister (Personnel) in DND, LGen John de Chastelain, wrote to Force Mobile Command headquarters advising that he considered closed the particular issues of disciplinary infractions and anti-social behaviour that had initially concerned them. He added that corrective actions regarding disciplinary matters would continue within a broader context in the CF. And over the longer term, MGen Hewson's recommendations attracted less attention.
The Commanding Officer of the CAR from 1990 until 1992 indicated in testimony before this Inquiry that the Hewson report never arose in discussions during the handover from the previous Commanding Officer, nor had he seen it or heard about it in the years of his Canadian Airborne appointment. Nevertheless, there were indications that the disciplinary issues that had prompted the Hewson investigation continued to manifest themselves within the Regiment as discussions took place for its deployment to Somalia.
Evidence has indicated that the manning practices of the Canadian Airborne determined to some extent the methods used to resolve disciplinary and other problems of the Regiment, because the commanding officer did not have the flexibility of other battalions to move soldiers from one sub-unit to another to obtain a balance of experience and talent. Each contributing CF unit was expected to do its part to ensure that a significant number of its best candidates were sent to fill its quotas in the CAR. However, this obligation was not always met and, indeed, we heard evidence that at times, battalions would actually avoid sending their better candidates to the CAR.
The CAR apparently had a high turnover of personnel, as its troops were rotated back and forth from their parent units. Also, shortly before its deployment to Somalia, the Regiment had undergone a major reorganization that included a troop reduction from a strength of 754 to 601 soldiers of all ranks. It had also just lost its formation status, and its components, in turn, had lost their status as independent units. This meant that the Regiment was converted to a normal infantry battalion, with a commander at one rank lower (lieutenant-colonel) than before, and with the commanders of its commandos losing their CO status and requiring less experience as majors.
By July 1992, the CAR consisted of a headquarters commando of 124 soldiers, three company-sized commandos of 119 soldiers each, and a service commando of 120. Even though their status of independent commands had been lost, each of the three main commando sub-units remained independently manned by the three regular CF infantry regiments.
At the time CF officers were planning for the deployment to Somalia, avoidance of costly and disruptive repatriation and replacement of personnel from an operational theatre was the focus of pre-deployment screening of soldiers. In accordance with Canadian Forces Administrative Orders (CFAO) in effect at the time, emphasis was placed on administrative, medical, and family problems, as opposed to matters involving disciplinary concerns or other suitability factors.
Pre-deployment screening of the CAR and reinforcement personnel was the responsibility of the unit's Commanding Officer who was expected ultimately to certify the fitness and suitability of each member. In practice, however, these decisions were made by sub-unit commanders. The standard practice based on the CFAO was to consider a soldier's recent conduct and performance as well as the requisite training standard and disciplinary record. Final judgement in terms of discipline was based on the soldier's overall record rather than on the basis of a single incident.
Normal and continuous personnel review determined the professionalism and behavioural suitability of various individuals for service on UN operations, but this approach suffered from significant limitations. For example, in 1992, affiliation with racist groups was not, in itself, believed to be inconsistent with membership in the CF, nor was it grounds for release from military service or for the restriction of assignments, postings, or deployments.
However, incidents had occurred, both in the past and during the CAR's preparation for the Somalia mission, that indicated that an informal leadership at the junior rank level presented a direct challenge to authority. This problem had been recognized by the legitimate leaders both within the Regiment and up the chain of command, and specific infractions in the fall of 1992 affirmed that it had not been resolved before deployment to Somalia.
Discipline breakdown within the Airborne's 2 Commando during preparations for Somalia was of particularly serious concern. This breakdown included disobedience of unit rules, socially unacceptable behaviour, and random criminal activity, ranging from the commando's mounting of the Confederate (or Rebel) flag in its quarters to reports of excessive aggression, damaging of property, the burning of a duty sergeant's car, unauthorized pyrotechnic explosions, and drunkenness.
Although the Commander of the CAR had taken steps to address the potential disciplinary challenge associated with the display of a Confederate flag, the flag reappeared in early October 1992 at the time of some serious disciplinary infractions.
A series of incidents took place on October 2 and 3, 1992, suggesting a grave lack of discipline in 2 Commando during training for operations in Somalia. In the evening of October 2nd, military pyrotechnics were exploded illegally at a party at the junior ranks' mess at CFB Petawawa. In the early morning of October 3rd, a vehicle was set on fire belonging to 2 Commando's duty officer, Sgt Wyszynski, who had reportedly called the Military Police following the disturbances at the mess. (This act resembled an earlier attack in 1990 on another officer who had responsibility for the enforcement of discipline. His car had also been burned.) Later that night, perhaps fearing their quarters would be inspected for illegally held pyrotechnics, various members of 2 Commando held another party, this time in Algonquin Park, at which they set off more pyrotechnics and ammunition.
Most officers and non-commissioned members responsible for discipline within the Airborne acknowledged that these incidents were serious infractions, and on October 6th, BGen Beno demanded an explanation of the events from Commanding Officer, LCol Morneault.
The day before BGen Beno's communication with LCol Morneault, three members of the Airborne (at least two from 2 Commando, MCpl Matchee and Pte Brocklebank, and a third unidentified individual) approached WO Murphy, 4 Platoon's sergeant-major, to report that they had participated in the party in Algonquin Park. Nevertheless, only Pte Brocklebank informed the sergeant-major that he accepted sole responsibility for the pyrotechnic discharges. Testimony before us from WO Murphy and MWO Mills, sergeant-major of 2 Commando, indicated that they viewed this 'confession' as taking the fall for the remaining participants.
Senior officers believed that 1 Commando and 3 Commando had lesser disciplinary problems, although there were reports of illegally stored personal weapons and improperly held ammunition. Videos showing degrading and violent behaviour during 1 Commando initiation sessions, which came to light following the Regiment's return from Somalia, also provide evidence of a serious breakdown in leadership and discipline within the Regiment.
The reaction of the Regiment's leadership to these infractions suggests that disciplinary matters were left unattended, even as the unit was preparing for an overseas mission. But they were not unnoticed. We were told that, following the two serious incidents in early October 1992, the CAR's CO, LCol Morneault, had sought the support of BGen Beno in threatening to leave 2 Commando behind in order to break the 'wall of silence' within that Commando. This recommendation was rejected by SSF Commander BGen Beno after consultation with the Commander Land Force Central Area, MGen MacKenzie. LCol Morneault was directed instead by BGen Beno to deal with the problem by redistributing soldiers from 2 Commando to other parts of the unit in an attempt to break up the "rebel" group.
LCol Morneault did not follow this recommendation, but chose to impose a collective punishment in an attempt to draw out the names of troublemakers. It was unsuccessful and was followed shortly after by the removal of LCol Morneault from command of the CAR, a dramatic and virtually unprecedented change in the midst of preparations for a deployment. The appointment of LCol Mathieu as the new Commanding Officer on October 26, 1992, and agreement to deploy the Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group (CARBG) in December 1992, on a revised operation, added further complications to the accelerated and increasingly tight time frame for planning for the mission.
CF estimates for the contingency plan for service in Somalia described the mission as comprising the probable tasks of port security, airfield security, convoy escort duties, distribution centre security, and base camp security. Force Mobile Command officers were concerned that the UN estimate of the number of troops needed was inadequate to carry out the likely tasks. They stressed that the UN proposal was not driven by operational considerations but by finances.
NDHQ changed the number and make-up of the infantry companies and also increased the vehicles for each. Some senior officers considered even this revised structure barely adequate to handle the anticipated tasks for the mission. At this time, BGen Vernon in a covering letter forwarded with the plan to the Department of External Affairs and the DCDS on September 3, 1992, recommended that there should be no acceptance of a lesser capability than that presented in the proposed plan, in view of the operational risks involved in the mission.
The CDS was also briefed about the difficulties in developing Canada's plan for participation because of the limited UN concept of operations. Many issues were not addressed, according to the Canadian military assessment, including the needs of the civilian population in Somalia, the UN plan for the military component of the force, the need for more information as to tasks and boundaries, and the timetable for deployment.
At the time of deployment to Somalia, the CAR's role was to provide rapid deployment forces for operations in accordance with assigned tasks, primarily to participate in support of national security or international peacekeeping. The Regiment's primary task in the normal peacetime state (its standby phase) was to be prepared to go anywhere in the world as a light infantry battalion for peacekeeping operations.
However, given the restructuring of the Regiment, when planning began for the UN mission, which had been given the name Operation Cordon, it was not anticipated that the Canadian Airborne would go alone. The Warning Order for the force indicated that reinforcements would be required from other units. (These and subsequent orders relating to Operation Cordon referred to the 'Canadian Airborne Battalion Group' until after the suspension of the UN mission. With the emergence of Operation Deliverance, the term Canadian Airborne Regiment Battle Group came into use.)
A number of factors contributed to BGen Beno's assessment of the CAR in the context of the planned restructuring of the regiment as an independent entity. He had stated in a letter to MGen MacKenzie that "if there was a battalion that needed firm direction and leadership, it is the Canadian Airborne Regiment." Documents in evidence and testimony before us indicate that these factors were known to senior officers at the time the Regiment was selected to go to Somalia. These factors were changes as a result of the reorganization which gave the officers commanding (OCs) of the Commandos more limited powers to discipline soldiers under their command; a change in the required level of experience of these OCs; changes to the manning levels and composition of the Regiment resulting in administrative difficulties which meant that preparations for deployment would require more time; frequent changes in personnel, both at the senior officer level and down through the ranks; and unresolved personal conflicts and disciplinary matters.
Because of these concerns, the suitability of the CAR for Operation Cordon ought to have been an issue, but was not. Its nominal status as the standby peacekeeping unit, the recent cancellation of its assignment to the Western Sahara, and concern for the unit's morale seemed to prevail as the bases for its ultimate deployment. Assuming the Regiment was a balanced, disciplined unit, the time period for training for Operation Cordon is considered by the Inquiry to have been sufficient for an adequate level of preparation. But commanders and staff officers at all levels never questioned their assumption that the Airborne was trained, disciplined, and fit for deployment. Evidence provided to us suggests that the state of the Airborne was clearly and definitively not what it was assumed to be.
A formal Warning Order for Operation Cordon, Canada's contribution to UNOSOM, was made two days after the press announcement, on September 4, 1992, reflecting the statement of mission and tasks as they had been defined at the time. Members of the CF who were to be a part of the operation were placed on active service after an order in council was issued and tabled in the House of Commons, in accordance with the usual practice for such commitments. In a response to the UN, Canada confirmed that the agreement was for one year only, and that Canada was to be relieved permanently from its involvement in the UN operation in the Western Sahara.
The Canadian troop contribution to UNOSOM consisted of the CAR operating as a mechanized infantry battalion, which, at the time, included two Armoured Vehicle General Purpose (AVGP) companies; one dismounted company which eventually was represented by 2 Commando; a headquarters/combat support company which included the regimental headquarters for the battalion group headquarters; a signals platoon; a reconnaissance platoon; a mounted reconnaissance platoon; and a direct fire support platoon. It had a total of 750 service members broken down in a headquarters commando of 132 soldiers, three infantry commandos of 110 soldiers each, an engineer squadron of 106 soldiers, and a service commando consisting of 182 personnel.
Within the context of the UNOSOM plan, CAR was to be responsible for the area in and around Bossasso. To support the Canadian ground forces, a naval supply ship, HMCS Preserver, was to stand off Bossasso to provide communications, combat and general stores, casualty evacuation, medical and dental services, and bulk fuel. Additionally, an air detachment of Hercules transport planes was deployed to Nairobi, Kenya, to fly humanitarian relief food and supplies into Somalia as part of the UN international airlift -s--sOperation Relief -- organized earlier in 1992. This airlift would also be available to support Operation Cordon.
Shortly after the Warning Order was issued, a delegation of Canadian officers met with UN officials in New York for briefings on the political situation in Somalia and on operational arrangements for the deployment of UNOSOM forces. Included in the Canadian contingent was LCol Paul Morneault, at that time still CO of the CAR.
LCol Morneault reported that the briefing had been well structured and thorough but that little new information had been presented. However, another Canadian officer who was present expressed concern that other member states had not made troop commitments. He also observed that standing operating procedures for the mission were undeveloped and that, in a mission such as UNOSOM, where there appeared to be no identifiable enemy, any show of force would prove to be a continuing challenge to the Canadian CO.
Early in October 1992, Canada was finally authorized by the UN to send an advance party to Somalia for a reconnaissance. On October 12th, the group left for Somalia to try and confirm operational details for Canada's contribution. Members of this team included LCol Morneault, representatives from NDHQ and the CF, an officer from the Directorate of Peacekeeping Operations, and eight soldiers from the CAR.
Although it was considered to be somewhat late in planning for Operation Cordon, the October reconnaissance mission was critical to an understanding of some of the subsequent events. For the first time, reports from this team indicated that there could be changes to the tasks outlined in the contingency plan and the UN concept of operations. The reconnaissance revealed that humanitarian aid distribution in Bossasso had improved and that conditions in the region had stabilized.
The report also described revised, though still somewhat general, tasks for Operation Cordon: base camp security, reconnaissance convoys, and some port and airport security. There was no apparent need for aid distribution centres, nor were security convoys seen to be necessary. while concluding that the tasks were well within the UNOSOM mandate, members of the reconnaissance team stressed the need to monitor the situation.
Changes to the tasks in the north-east sector, which had been assigned to Canada, were of major concern to Canadian officials because both the Department of National Defence and the Department of External Affairs wanted Canada to play a major part in the delivery of humanitarian relief supplies in Somalia. The revised concept of operations for the Canadian troop contribution allowed for mounted patrols to secure aid, but generally the Canadian presence was simply to show the flag.
Following discussions within DND on the revised mission plan for Operation Cordon, Col Bremner, Director of International Policy at DND, conveyed the Department's concern to the UN that the proposed role for Canadian troops, although within the broad UNOSOM mandate, was not necessarily the most appropriate role for the CAR. It was pointed out that until the reconnaissance report revealed an improved environment around Bossasso, the Airborne had been preparing for a security task for the delivery of humanitarian aid.
There was little indication following this communication with the UN that Canadian officials were persuaded that the tasks in Bossasso were suited to the CAR or to Canada's proposed organizational structure. At the UN, further clarification of the mandate was sought unsuccessfully, but shortly after, during November 1992, events transpired that led to an even more dramatic change in the mission. The original mandate for the Canadian unit's participation in UNOSOM had become irrelevant.
Even before the Warning Order had been issued, CAR staff had begun to develop a training plan for Operation Cordon, although overall responsibility for the design and implementation of the plan rested with LCol Morneault as Commanding Officer of the Regiment. While planning at senior levels of Defence and External Affairs continued to evolve around the status of Canada's participation in UNOSOM, LCol Morneault provided input to the plan, drawing on information he had received orally from various sources, results from an earlier reconnaissance visit, training plans, and after-action reports from Operation Python, as well as other details based on his knowledge and personal experience.
CAR staff recognized that the mission had to be mounted quickly but viewed it as an unprecedented operation requiring extensive research, including a review of files from previous missions such as Cyprus and other operations on the African continent. Subsequent information provided to us indicated that written (that is, doctrinal) material from CF manuals was found to be very limited, but staff had also sought input from parent regiments to provide details for the training plan.
The first draft training program for Operation Cordon was forwarded by the CAR training officer to his superiors at SSF headquarters on the same day the Warning Order was issued, September 4, 1992. It provided a summary of regimental and commando level training activities to be conducted in mid-September in preparation for deployment. However, in spite of the efforts put into its preparation, it appeared much later that there was disagreement on whether the proposed schedule of training tasks represented a plan or a summary, and on whether its implementation would result in the regiment being ready on time.
In any case, differences in perception among senior officers as to the satisfactory nature of the training schedule for Operation Cordon would later appear in individual accounts of the training process. LCol Morneault's superior officer, BGen Ernest Beno, had sought in a series of conversations and meetings to bring to LCol Morneault's attention his concept of an acceptable training plan. By mid-September 1992, written directions were issued for a training exercise, called Stalwart Providence, with the express aim of confirming the operational readiness of the CAR.
Two days later, BGen Beno and LCol Morneault were scheduled to meet for a review of training activities and other Operation Cordon preparations. Later evidence suggests that BGen Beno was concerned that LCol Morneault had not focused on the kind of training required or how it was to be managed. LCol Morneault, on the other hand, testified that although BGen Beno had told him during a telephone call that staff at SSF headquarters were dissatisfied with details on the training plan provided by CAR staff he came away from that conversation with the understanding only that he was to deliver a training plan through the chain of command, and not necessarily that it should include formal aims, objectives, and scope of training details.
A new package of training schedules and summaries was presented by LCol Morneault and his staff for the time period from September 8 to October 2, 1992, to be followed by the Stalwart Providence training exercise, to take place between October 3 and 9, 1992. It was apparent by this time that unexpected events at the UN and in Somalia were affecting the overall timing for UNOSOM, creating the likelihood of a delay in the deployment of Canadian troops.
On September 22, 1992, BGen Beno sent LCol Morneault a detailed training direction for Operation Cordon. The document stated that its intention was to assist in the preparation of the battalion group for the UN operation in Somalia, to lay the foundation for Stalwart Providence, and to provide a means for declaring the unit's operational readiness.
BGen Beno had included three basic rules in the training order, which he believed should govern the conduct of any peacekeeping operation and therefore underlie any preparatory training. These rules were that there was to be a minimum use of force, a maximum use of deterrence, and conflict resolution at the lowest possible level. He also set out directions for individual and collective training to be completed by mid-October.
LCol Morneault stated in his testimony before us that he did not see BGen Beno's training direction until he had returned from UNOSOM planning meetings at UN headquarters on September 28th. Evidence before us indicates that by this time communication between these two officers was seriously lacking. Although it seemed a bit late for the issuance of any written guidance, LCol Morneault had not interpreted BGen Beno's direction as an expression of concern, in part because the SSF headquarters had also issued a training direction for Operation Python a year earlier. As delays in the mission planning continued, the training plan continued to evolve. Additional time was scheduled for weapons training and commando exercises, and Stalwart Providence was rescheduled to run from October 14 to 18, 1992.
It appeared at first that BGen Beno and LCol Morneault had agreed on the purpose of Stalwart Providence, but as events unfolded, their individual accounts provided to us indicate that the exercise had taken on different purposes for each officer. Their basic difference was on whether it was a training or a confirmatory (i.e., testing) activity, and whether it was intended to be a test of the leadership of LCol Morneault himself. (This confusion could possibly have been explained by the lack of clear policy or doctrine within Force Mobile Command about the need for such an exercise in advance of a UN mission.)
When the dates for Stalwart Providence were set, it was not known that LCol Morneault would be away from his unit. He was to have participated in a reconnaissance mission to Somalia authorized by the UN, but it had been delayed while the UN negotiated with Somali factions. However, by October 21, 1992, LCol Morneault had been relieved of his command of the CAR. Subsequent information indicated to us that this decision had been made based on his superior officers' loss of confidence in the CO, rather than because of any action, lack of action, or other specific factors that preceded this unusual development.
Although there was a general view that the CAR was ready for overseas deployment, officers closer to the unit appeared not to be so sure. Shortly after receiving the Warning Order, BGen Beno had spoken to LGen Gervais to express his "concerns relevant to the command and training preparations" of the regiment. LGen Gervais' response to BGen Beno was, in effect, 'take care of the problem'. Other difficulties were also apparent.
Reorganization and the reduction of staffing of the CAR had affected the functioning of the unit, especially 2 Commando, which experienced a larger turnover of officers and junior leaders than had the other two commandos. The development of the rules of engagement for Operation Cordon was delayed, and the resulting uncertainty created difficulties in addressing the training requirements for the troops, some of whom were newcomers to their Airborne tasks. The CO of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, LCol MacDonald, reported that some CAR members were not interested in the specialized training they needed, and that overall discipline was lacking.
BGen Beno was aware that LCol Morneault was concerned and frustrated with "internal disciplinary problems" within the unit. Throughout the training period for Operation Cordon, repeated incidents indicated a serious breakdown in discipline and unit cohesion. LCol Morneault's attempts at discipline had, according to some testimony before us, the opposite effect of what he had intended.
Despite the recognized and unresolved disciplinary matters, LCol Morneault reported to BGen Beno on October 9, 1992 that the CAR would be ready to undertake its UN mission in Somalia after the planned regimental exercise. However, the same day BGen Beno told his superior, MGen MacKenzie, that he had "no confidence" in LCol Morneault. In mid-October, while LCol Morneault was out of the country on the reconnaissance mission to Somalia, BGen Beno sent a message about LCol Morneault to MGen MacKenzie, while he was on a visit with other members of the Army Council to U.S. army installations in the United States. Discussions took place about LCol Morneault's leadership of the regiment at an ad hoc meeting of the Council, and a recommendation was made to LFC Commander LGen Gervais, who effectively would make the final decision.
BGen Beno also sent a letter on October 19th to MGen MacKenzie that the Canadian Airborne's training deficiencies and administrative and disciplinary problems had not been resolved, adding that if the unit "was to be adequately prepared for its mission, it was necessary to replace LCol Morneault." Reasons given were that the battalion was not adequately trained, there were unresolved leadership, disciplinary, and operational matters, and the regiment had major problems of internal cohesion, control, standardized operating procedures, administration and efficiency.
On receiving approval for the removal of LCol Morneault, BGen Beno informed LCol Morneault that he was relieved of command on October 21, 1992, a decision that was to be challenged later by LCol Morneault. (BGen Beno had also told MGen MacKenzie on October 20th that training for Operation Cordon was complete, except for individual training for some additions to the battalion group. He added that the CAR could be "employed" as a part of UNOSOM, even though it was not administratively "ready to deploy.")
While the UN proceeded with its plan for UNOSOM and the CF prepared for the deployment of its contribution, Operation Cordon, throughout October and November 1992, the security situation in Somalia continued to deteriorate. In late November, the Secretary-General wrote to the Security Council, warning that it might become necessary to "review the basic premises and principles of the United Nations in Somalia".
At a meeting the following day, the UN Security Council requested that the Secretary-General propose options to break the impasse in Mogadishu, and while these options were being developed, the Acting Secretary of State of the United States told the Secretary-General that the United States was willing to lead a peace enforcement operation in Somalia. Its sole object, according to the Secretary of State's presentation, was to stabilize the situation throughout Somalia, using force if necessary, so that UNOSOM could resume and continue its mission.
There are indications that the UN and many of its member states were taken by surprise by this offer. The proposal had also raised some difficult issues around the appropriate role of the UN in such an operation. Nevertheless, on November 29, 1992, the Secretary-General presented five options to the Security Council, two of which were modelled on the Chapter VI (peacekeeping-type) UNOSOM mission, and three others, including the U.S. offer, that envisaged action taken under Chapter VII (peace enforcement-type) of the UN Charter.
The Secretary-General argued that for any operation to be effective, given the situation in Somalia, it would have to be conducted under a Chapter VII mandate. He also expressed doubt that a simple show of force in Mogadishu would solve the problem throughout the country. Although the Secretary-General preferred the option that called for a country-wide peace enforcement operation under the command of the UN, he doubted its feasibility and therefore recommended the U.S. -led peace enforcement operation.
The wisdom of carrying out the UNOSOM mandate and the U.S. plan simultaneously was debated at the UN. Canadian officials took the position, supported by the U.S. State Department, that the Canadian deployment to Bossasso could continue, although details on how this arrangement would operate were not set out. This "Canadian option" was supported by members of the Security Council but not by the Secretary-General. He believed that a traditional peacekeeping mission such as UNOSOM and a peace enforcement action should not take place concurrently.
On December 2, 1992, at the request of the Secretary-General, the Canadian deployment to Bossasso was suspended, less than two weeks before Col Labbé, the officer appointed to head Canadian Joint Force Somalia, arrived in Mogadishu to establish the Canadian headquarters for its changed mission. Until this time in the decision-making process concerning a Canadian role in the U.S.-led Unified Task Force in Somalia (UNITAF), NDHQ had not appeared to play any significant role in the developing situation.
Gen de Chastelain had requested as early as November 27th that communications be established with the Pentagon to determine U.S. intentions with respect to Somalia. A few days later, at a senior defence officials' daily meeting in Ottawa, it was noted with concern that the U.S. plan appeared only to involve security for the distribution of aid rather than assistance in the re-establishment of law and order.
By December 2nd, with UNOSOM suspended and the Bossasso deployment less likely, Gen de Chastelain telephoned the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen Colin Powell, to ask about the American position and to express his own views. He indicated that it was his personal position (not the government's) to continue with the deployment to Bossasso, but only if it were to take place immediately. He also emphasized the capabilities and readiness of the CAR and suggested that if there was going to be an open-ended delay, then his preference was to join the peace enforcement operation.
On December 3, 1992, the Security Council met and authorized a Chapter VII peace enforcement mission to Somalia. Under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, Resolution 794 sanctioned the multi-national dispatch of peace enforcement troops, authorizing the use of "all necessary means" to establish a secure environment for relief operations in Somalia. The operation was to be commanded by the United States and funded by member states, not the UN.
Its mandate, briefly stated, was "to use all necessary means to establish as soon as possible a secure environment for humanitarian relief operations in Somalia". On December 4th, the President of the United States directed the execution of Operation Restore Hope, to be carried out by a multi-national coalition known as the Unified Task Force Somalia, or UNITAF.
On the same day that the United States formally assumed the leadership of UNITAF, the government of Canada announced that it would contribute to the U.S.-led operation in Somalia. This decision was made by the Ad Hoc Committee of Ministers on Somalia, following a request made by President George Bush to Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.
The President's invitation to the Prime Minister for Canada to participate in the U.S.-led mission followed shortly after the conversation between Gen de Chastelain and Gen Powell. Gen de Chastelain again called Gen Powell to advise him that he would initiate staff contact between NDHQ and the Pentagon to discuss the possibility of Canadian involvement in the peace enforcement action.
DND began in earnest to analyze the possibility of participating in the U.S.-led mission after December 1, 1992. Only three very cursory written assessments (one by LCol Clark of the Directorate of International Policy, a second by the Canadian Operations Staff Branch (J3) Plans desk officer, Cdr Taylor, and the third, an unsigned document) were done at NDHQ before Cabinet was briefed on December 4, 1992. (These assessments noted generally that plans for a U.S.-led operation should be based on the force configuration and support structure already earmarked for UNOSOM.)
At the Cabinet briefing, Gen de Chastelain and Mr. Fowler presented two options for consideration by Cabinet: immediate participation with an augmented force in the UNITAF peace enforcement mission, expected to last eight months; or participation 9 to 12 months later in a resurrected UNOSOM for one year. Normally, a recommendation would have been provided to Cabinet, but in this situation only the options, with accompanying financial and logistics analyses, were presented. The CDS and the DM accounted for this approach with the explanation that the Department of External Affairs had been designated the lead department on this issue.
The Ad Hoc Committee of Ministers on Somalia considered the advice of External Affairs and the information provided by National Defence and decided that Canada should participate "for the duration of the UN military peace enforcement operation (an estimated nine months) with a properly supported battalion-sized force of up to 900 troops", stating as well that "Canada therefore would not participate in any subsequent peacekeeping operation in Somalia".
There were several important considerations in the development of the options for the Cabinet briefing, many of which, it appeared, actually favoured participation in the U.S.-led peace enforcement mission. These factors included the fact that the CAR was assumed to be ready and anxious to go on an operation; that senior CF officers desired a prominent military role in any mission; that some planners felt that the decision to participate in UNITAF had already been made, thus reducing their function to justifying the decision; that the peace enforcement mission was more sustainable given other CF commitments; and that media attention on the situation in Somalia required immediate political and/or military action.
The fact that the CAR was assumed to be ready and anxious to go appears to have been one of the most important factors favouring participation in the U.S.-led peace enforcement mission. Gen de Chastelain later testified before us that as well as having a unit ready to go, there were ships already loaded and en route to the area, and a reconnaissance had been conducted. Although Col Bremner stated in his testimony that the fact that HMCS Preserver was en route to Bossasso would have had no impact on the decision to participate in the mission, his direct superior, Cmdre Cogdon, and Gen de Chastelain both agreed that this was a prime factor.
Senior Canadian military officials also believed that Canada needed to secure a prominent role in a more high-profile mission, partly to satisfy the media, which, it was felt, had noted Canada's omission from significant action during the Gulf War. The CDS noted in his record of a conversation with Gen Powell that "a role that was seen to be secondary would not sit well with the troops, with me, with the Government or with Canadians". Another officer reported that he had been directed by the CDS to "make it happen and jump on the bandwagon as quickly as possible". He indicated that doing a full military analysis ("estimate") of the situation would have prevented the CF from getting involved "at the front end of the situation".
Canada's contribution to the U.S.-led UNITAF coalition was called Operation Deliverance. UNITAF was mounted under a mandate similar to that used in Korea in the 1950s and in the Gulf War some 40 years later, and Canada's contribution consisted of an infantry battalion of 900 troops, replacing the earlier commitment to UNOSOM of 750 personnel. Originally, then, Canada was to have participated in a traditional Chapter VI peacekeeping-type operation in support of humanitarian relief distribution in the northern area of Somalia around Bossasso. Now it was to participate in a Chapter VII mission that authorized the use of force to accomplish the goals of the mission.
When the government of Canada decided to participate in the U.S.-led peace enforcement operation, it had not committed CF members to carrying out a specific mission. Defining the operational mission in theatre was placed in the hands of Col Labbé by the CDS. He was given little guidance, but urged to move as quickly as possible to secure a high-profile mission. On December 6, 1992, the Canadian contingent was assigned initial responsibility for maintaining security at Baledogle airport. On December 19th, after consultation with the UNITAF commander, Canada's ultimate mission was finally assigned. The Canadian contingent was to be responsible for security in the Belet Huen Humanitarian Relief Sector, one of eight such sectors established under UNITAF.
One of the most significant alterations for this revised mission was the reinforcement of the CAR to give it the personnel and capabilities necessary to counter situations in the more volatile location of its changed area of responsibility. The newly formed CARBG was to consist of, in addition to the Canadian Airborne Regiment, A Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons, the mortar platoon from 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, and 2 Combat Engineers Regiment, with additional minor changes in the CAR itself.
LCol Carol Mathieu, who had replaced LCol Morneault as Commanding Officer of the CAR, began the reorganization of his unit for Operation Deliverance on December 8, 1992. He made structural and operational reductions to the unit based on the immediate task of the Canadian advance party, which, according to UNITAF's plan, was to arrive in Somalia on December 13th to maintain security at the Baledogle airport. LCol Mathieu's main body of troops was scheduled to go to Somalia between December 27th and 31st.
One of the important elements in planning for the deployment of CF for any mission or operation is the overall preparation of the troops leading to a declaration of operational readiness. The CAR had received its Warning Order for Operation Cordon in September 1992 and trained throughout the autumn of that year for the mission. It was declared operationally ready by BGen Beno, Commander of the Special Service Force, on November 13, 1992. On that day, Col O'Brien and Cmdre Cogdon, senior staff officers at NDHQ, had bypassed the chain of command to ask BGen Beno specifically about the state of readiness of the CAR for Operation Cordon. BGen Beno testified later that he had responded that "based on my judgement [the CAR] would be [ready] within a few days".
Subsequently, the CAR and necessary reinforcements were regrouped into the CARBG and warned for Operation Deliverance on December 5, 1992. The CARBG was not declared operationally ready until December 16th, even though the unit's advance party had already been deployed. Until the decision to participate in UNITAF every operational activity, training event, and logistics preparation had been aimed at preparing the Canadian Airborne for operations near Bossasso.
The determination of operational readiness took a number of factors into consideration, all of which were based on the ultimate purpose and tasks of the planned mission. The concept is defined in CF doctrine as "the state of preparedness of a unit to perform the missions for which it is organized or designed". In the army, readiness is associated with operational effectiveness -- the degree to which operational forces are capable of performing their assigned missions in relation to known enemy capabilities.
Although there was no formal standard for measuring operational readiness in Force Mobile Command units at the time of pre-deployment preparations, there are certain military notions that could have guided commanding officers in the determination of their units' operational readiness. These ideas would likely include a clearly defined mission and concept of operations appropriate to the mission; well trained and experienced officers and junior leaders; a unit organization with weapons and equipment suitable for the mission; adequate training for all personnel in tactics, procedures, and operations of weapons and equipment; well organized and appropriate command and control systems for the mission; logistics and administrative support for the mission; and good morale, strict and fair discipline, and a strong sense of cohesion and internal loyalty.
In the case of Operation Deliverance, the specific mission was not known in detail until after members of Canadian Joint Force Somalia (CJFS) arrived in Somalia and, with this uncertainty, it would not have been possible to make an objective assessment of either operational readiness or effectiveness before the force was deployed. Notwithstanding the lack of objective standards and evaluations, and the existing pressures to hurry the deployment, there was, and still is, confusion among CF officers and staff at NDHQ about the distinction between a unit that is ready to be deployed and one that is ready for the military mission it is intended to perform.
The Commander Land Force Central Area (LFCA), MGen MacKenzie, had been directed in operation orders to declare, in writing, the readiness of the CAR for deployment for Operation Cordon. In the original order, operational readiness for the purpose of Operation Cordon's deployment was defined as "the capability of a unit/formation, ship, weapon system or equipment to perform the missions or functions for which it is organized or designed". MGen MacKenzie delegated the responsibility for this declaration to BGen Beno.
Following the cancellation of Operation Cordon, MGen MacKenzie and BGen Beno were alerted to the pending new mission. While staff adjusted their plans before deployment for the U.S.-led operation, there appeared to be little concern at more senior levels about the effects of the changes and the short planning time for determining the actual state of readiness of the newly organized CARBG.
Although there were similarities between Operation Cordon and Operation Deliverance, it eventually became apparent that there was a sufficient number of critical differences between them to raise questions as to whether the declaration of operational readiness for Operation Cordon should have been considered valid for Operation Deliverance. As already indicated, Operation Deliverance involved a deployment of CF on an uncertain mission, in a different region of Somalia, under new command arrangements, and with a changed force structure and different rules of engagement. Moreover, having just completed a stressful change of its command and unit restructuring, the CAR was still attempting to deal with leadership, unit cohesion, and discipline problems.
Although the reorganization of the Canadian unit might have been seen to provide ample reason to reassess the readiness of the newly formed group, senior officers did not appear to have been alerted to the need for a specific assessment and declaration of operational readiness of the CARBG for Operation Deliverance. However, the Defence headquarters operation order for Operation Deliverance did not ask for such a declaration.
Despite the absence of a formal requirement for a declaration of operational readiness from the CDS, the Commander LFC, LGen Gervais, realized when Operation Deliverance was announced that a new declaration of readiness would be necessary. Accordingly he ordered MGen MacKenzie, in an operation order of December 9, 1992, to provide a declaration of operation readiness for the CARBG. Later testimony revealed that it is not clear whether MGen MacKenzie gave written or oral orders to this effect to BGen Beno, nor was it determined that he had taken any other action to comply with the order from LGen Gervais.
At the level of the Battle Group, many junior officers were aware of problems associated with the new structure. It had been in existence for less than a month and the new sub-units brought in to augment the CAR had not been warned, trained, or tested for a mission outside Canada. Maj Kampman, the officer commanding A Squadron, Royal Canadian Dragoons, received his troop's Warning Order for Operation Deliverance on December 3, 1992, and he was placed under the command of the CAR only a few days later.
In his testimony before us, Maj Kampman stated that he did not know LCol Mathieu and they had never worked in the field together. He also stated that he felt he was under considerable stress, partly because he had only 10 or 12 days to prepare for deployment, but also because he did not understand the mission, had no clear explanation of the command arrangements in Somalia, and was provided with very limited intelligence reports of the expected area of operations. In particular, Maj Kampman discussed with LCol Mathieu his concerns about the state of readiness of his squadron and the hasty organization and lack of training in the battle group. He noted in particular that he expected that they would have a problem with the rules of engagement because his soldiers had not been trained on any rules whatsoever.
According to the evidence, there was confusion in the sequence of events relating to the declaration of operational readiness for Operation Deliverance. From that confusion the following events occurred. NDHQ sent a message to Land Force Central Area headquarters and Special Service Force on December 10, 1992, asking for a confirmation of readiness. A declaration was issued by BGen Beno's SSF headquarters on December 16, 1992. This was followed by a declaration to the same effect 24 hours later by Land Force Central Area headquarters, and on December 18, 1992, the Commander LFC forwarded a declaration to NDHQ. By this time, the CARBG's advance party had departed for Somalia.
Another aspect of mission planning is gathering necessary information to assist in the overall preparations. There were a number of fact-finding missions to Somalia in 1992, although only one was intentionally focused on the pending Canadian operation, Operation Cordon. Two UN technical missions went to Somalia, in March and August 1992. The March visit included Col Houghton, a staff officer in the peacekeeping section at NDHQ, as a member of the UN technical team. This mission produced a detailed report for the UN, which was made available to Canada for mission-planning purposes.
The Secretary-General used the reports of these technical missions to inform the Security Council about the current situation in Somalia. Planning staff at NDHQ considered the information useful for the purposes of policy analysis and the development of options because it provided details about an area of potential operation. In this instance, the reports had recommended that the UN objective could be accomplished through the deployment of "observers" and ''security escorts'', the latter to be drawn from a ''security battalion''.
The UN reconnaissance report also noted that a UN mission could be affected negatively by a number of factors, including the absence of a host government authority, antagonism among the parties, meagre infrastructure, complete lack of a reliable communications network, and a high incidence of serious crime. The report of the Secretary-General that followed this reconnaissance clearly described a "humanitarian assistance" mission.
The reconnaissance report did not make assessments specifically focused on the potential operations of any specific participating member state. Nor had Col Houghton prepared a report or made recommendations concerning Canada's possible role in a UN mission. Eventually, both reports from the UN technical missions were studied at NDHQ, leading to the recommendation by the CDS and the DM against any Canadian participation in the area at that time.
A CF reconnaissance, to support the pending deployment to Somalia, left Canada for Somalia on October 12, 1992. This mission was led by Col Houghton and included, among others, headquarters logistics and movements staff, representatives from Maritime Command, Air Command, LFC, and the CO of the CAR, at the time LCol Morneault. This party gathered information for the deployment of the CAR battalion group to Bossasso under Operation Cordon. Its report provided the substance of a briefing given to the CDS and the DM on October 21st, and for planning and orders prepared later at Defence and supporting headquarters.
The composition of the reconnaissance team was considered important because it included officers who would have responsibility for planning and conducting the operation. The mission was meant not only to gather information but also to provide these officers with some familiarity with conditions on the ground once the unit was in Somalia. Both Col Houghton and LCol Morneault considered the reconnaissance useful. LCol Morneault's enthusiasm was reflected in his report, which included details of the location of the camp, sites for the camp's defences, and a number of other administrative requirements.
An important purpose of the reconnaissance was to inform the planning process for the deployment of Canadian troops to Bossasso. The entire logistics and materiel support plan was to be based on the use of HMCS Preserver as the provider of fresh water, rations, and other essential commodities. Planners in the reconnaissance party and at NDHQ understood the central role of the replenishment ship to Operation Cordon. Their concept of support involved the understanding that HMCS Preserver would be "alongside in Bossasso", that is, a short distance from Bossasso in the Gulf of Aden, to provide an offshore base for resupply of the CAR once it reached its area of responsibility in Somalia.
Subsequent decisions to change the nature of the mission and the deployment area within Somalia affected the ultimate value of the October reconnaissance, to the extent that LCol Mathieu would later state that it was of no value at all for the purposes of the CAR's role in Operation Deliverance. Among other changes, LCol Morneault had been relieved of his command; neither LCol Mathieu, as his replacement, nor Col Labbé, as Commander CJFS, had time to conduct a reconnaissance as a part of the new mission; the composition of the field force had been changed from a CAR-reinforced battalion group to the CARBG (representing an increase of approximately 150 personnel and a different composition of reinforcements); and none of the new unit officers had been on the October reconnaissance.
A UN technical mission visited Somalia in August 1992 to study the logistics problems likely to be encountered by the UNOSOM force. Although no CF officer was a member of the group, the mission was significant because it visited 11 locations in Somalia, including Bossasso and Belet Huen, and the findings were subsequently made available to Canadian planners.
Two particular issues were highlighted in the report of the UN's technical team: the virtual absence of an infrastructure throughout Somalia, and the difficulties of obtaining services and supplies for troops based there. Under these circumstances, the report indicated that the logistics challenge would be to construct an entirely self-sufficient deployment and resupply system. The logistics problems identified by the technical mission occupied and tested Canadian logistics planners for both operations Cordon and Deliverance.
The UN technical mission report after an August 1992 reconnaissance stated that nearly all food for UN troops would have to come from abroad, but apparently it had underestimated the water requirements for individual military personnel. Fuel, specialized vehicles, spare parts for equipment and vehicles, weapons and ammunition, generators, tents and other camping equipment, sandbags, wire, and water were identified in the report as some of the most important kinds of materiel for the deployment.
An early premise of logistics planning was that the basic supply lines would extend the whole distance from Canada to Somalia. This planning also had taken into account the changes to the structure of the Canadian Airborne in the summer of 1992, which included losses of logistic capability. One possible option to offset these problems was the organization of a National Support Element (NSE) to provide what was referred to as second- and third-line support, which would allow for supplies and equipment once in Somalia to be forwarded directly to Canadian personnel.
When the CARBG finally went to Somalia, however, only the CAR's service commando and a few second-line elements accompanied it. An NSE component was not put in place officially as a sub-unit of the CJFS headquarters until about two months after the troops had arrived.
Early in September 1992, Canada had received UN guidelines for governments that were contributing military personnel to UNOSOM. These guidelines stipulated that logistics planners should provide for troop self-sufficiency for at least 60 days after deployment. This goal had also informed the planners of Operation Deliverance, although shortly after the deployment had occurred, it was realized that the 60-day time period was inadequate.
Logistics matters had also been addressed during the October 1992 reconnaissance trip to the Bossasso region for Operation Cordon. A report submitted in late October by LCol Mathieu suggested that Canadian planners had already identified some of the potential logistics problems. The Canadian resupply ship HMCS Preserver was to have anchored offshore near the port of Bossasso, but LCol Mathieu's report indicated that the port was too small to accommodate the ship and that another type of vessel would be required instead.
Logistics planning during the early stages of Operation Cordon preparation was affected by a UN request that Canadian troops deploy as soon as possible. The cancellation of Operation Cordon leading to the new mission, Operation Deliverance, with its accompanying changes to location, manpower, and unit structure, further tested the logistics planning capabilities of the CF.
Operation Deliverance was a complex mission, made more so by a change in the location of the deployment, to Belet Huen, which required that Canadian planners coordinate with U.S. logistics activities. Once the projected area of operations had changed, there was little time to make the necessary alterations to the logistics/materiel planning already in place. Once the main body of Canadian troops began arriving in Belet Huen, it appeared that there was little opportunity to make adjustments to supplies, most of which were already en route to Somalia at the time the mission was changed.
Once supplies had been brought ashore, the task of transporting them to the CARBG in Belet Huen was far greater than the expected arrangement had been for Operation Cordon in Bossasso, where the troop's base camp was only three kilometres inland. Operation Deliverance logistics planners initially had to contemplate transporting supplies from the resupply ship (offshore from Mogadishu) to Baledogle, almost 100 kilometres inland. When the Battle Group was given the responsibility for the Belet Huen Humanitarian Relief Sector, the logistics demands were even greater, because there was only one supply route, an insecure and unsurfaced road linking Mogadishu to Belet Huen, which was approximately 350 kilometres inland.
Because Operation Cordon was part of UNOSOM, the development of the mission's Rules of Engagement (ROE) was generally understood to be the responsibility of the UN force commander. Once approved by the UN Secretariat, ROE are sent to contingent commanders for implementation. Any objections or need for clarification would require contingent commanders to refer the matter to the UN force commander or to seek guidance from their national authorities as appropriate.
Canada's responsibility regarding the development of acceptable ROE lies with NDHQ. Any UN rules of engagement issued to Canadian troops must first receive approval from the CDS, a process that would be initiated by the Canadian contingent commander. Current Canadian doctrine defines rules of engagement as "directions and orders regarding the use of force by Canadian forces in domestic and international operations in peacetime, periods of tension and armed conflict. They constitute lawful command... Rules of Engagement confine themselves to when force is allowable or authorized, and to what extent it is to be used." To put it succinctly, ROE are orders about the use of force.
Based on evidence before us, the Canadian officers (one of whom was LCol Morneault) who attended a planning meeting in New York in September 1992 received a UN document entitled "UNOSOM and the Use of Force", and by December 1, 1992 there were UNOSOM rules of engagement in existence, which, in accordance with the Chapter VI peacekeeping nature of the mission, allowed firing only in self-defence. However, based on reliable testimony, it also appears that the UN rules of engagement for UNOSOM were never issued to the CAR.
On September 13, 1992, the operations officer of the CAR was given the task of developing standing operating procedures on arrest and detention and on the use of force and the rules of engagement. The following day, BGen Beno wrote to the regiment's CO, LCol Morneault, asking that standing operating procedures and drills be developed and practised for rules of engagement and procedures for arrest and detention. He pointed out in the same letter that one of the rules governing any peacekeeping operation is that minimum force is to be used.
Chapter 5 of the standing operating procedures for Operation Cordon contained guidance on the use of force and rules of engagement. Generally, it was understood that infiltrators, looters, thieves, etc. were to be detained until arrangements could be made to turn them over to Somali authorities. According to documentary evidence and testimony before us, these standing operating procedures remained in effect when Operation Cordon was changed to Operation Deliverance.
However, when the Security Council adopted Resolution 794 in early December 1992, Canadian Joint Force Somalia (that is, the CARBG and headquarters staff) became part of the U.S.-led coalition force, and UN rules of engagement were no longer applicable. According to international practice, it therefore became necessary for Canadian troops to adopt Canadian rules of engagement, which necessarily would have to be compatible with the rules of engagement of other nations participating in UNITAF in particular with the United States as the force commander.
Canadian rules of engagement had to be developed in such a way as to be "defensible under Canadian domestic law and the Canadian interpretation of international law". The Warning Order for Operation Deliverance, issued on December 5, 1992 by the CDS, mentioned that members of the Canadian force to be deployed to Somalia would be informed about the ROE "after liaison with the US".
At that time a team was organized at NDHQ to coordinate drafting the Canadian ROE. When a draft was "sufficiently developed", it was reviewed by senior officers, including the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff; Adm Anderson, the Judge Advocate General, Cmdre Partner, and the Deputy Minister, Robert Fowler. The recently appointed chief of staff of CJFS, LCol Young, asked joint staff officers at NDHQ to prepare a soldier's card (called an aide-mémoire) but he was told that such a task was the prerogative of Col Labbé. Col Labbé later stated that he received a copy of the draft ROE from NDHQ, that he then requested Capt (N) McMillan to produce a soldier's card as soon as possible, and that Capt (N) McMillan had agreed to do so.
Gen de Chastelain received the completed ROE on December 11, 1992 while on a trip to Brussels, having been informed in a fax from the office of the VCDS that the enclosed document was "effective for planning and operation on receipt". The letter also indicated that Capt (N) McMillan was preparing a document for Col Labbé's subordinate officers, mentioning as well that a shorter version would have to be prepared so that the soldiers could understand them, and that a French-language translation would be issued as soon as possible.
The same document containing the seven-page rules of engagement, but still marked as a draft, was also sent to LCol Mathieu on December 11th. He testified at the de Faye Board of Inquiry that he had passed on this version for training purposes to his Officers Commanding but that most personnel had gone on leave the same day. On December 12, 1992, Col Labbé issued his Operation Deliverance Operation Order #1, which included the Rules of Engagement approved by the CDS and a document produced by NDHQ called "Guidance to Subordinate Commanders" on the Rules of Engagement.
Officers later testified that there were problems with interpreting the Rules of Engagement from the beginning. Part of the problem appeared to stem from the definition of "hostile intent", which applied to the situation to be covered under the Chapter VII peace enforcement mission. However, Maj MacKay, the Deputy Commanding Officer of the CARBG, testified during one of the later courts-martial that the seven-page rules of engagement document was "quite complicated" for the soldiers and that it was unsuitable for general use because it was designated "secret". LCol Young testified before the de Faye Board of Inquiry that the document consisted of "legal definitions". He added: "what we were looking for was a set of rules of engagement that we could issue to soldiers."
On December 24, 1992, the CDS forwarded to Col Labbé in Somalia approved Rules of Engagement (in both French and English) for Operation Deliverance, along with Col Labbé's terms of reference as Commander CJFS. This document contained a directive that only the CDS could make changes to the Rules of Engagement and that "recommended changes or additions must be submitted through Commander CJFS to CDS clearly supporting the request with substantiation".
Capt (N) McMillan later testified that these ROE were identical to the ones sent by fax to Col Labbé on December 11th. The terms of reference contained a statement interpreting the rules as follows: "These ROE allow proportional response, up to and including deadly force, in reaction to any hostile act or demonstration of hostile intent which will impede the accomplishment of the CJFS humanitarian mission."
On December 13, 1992, the operations officer of 1st Canadian Division, LCol Davidson, sent a two-page aide-mémoire to NDHQ for approval. This version was developed by three CARBG officers: the CO, LCol Mathieu, the deputy CO, Maj MacKay, and Capt Kyle, CARBG's operations officer. Although military doctrine requires that summary cards and other amplifying directions should also be approved by the CDS before dissemination to subordinate commanders and CF members, this aide-mémoire was hurriedly prepared and issued at the last minute (without the required authorization of the CDS) to the CARBG advance party, which departed for Somalia on December 13th. Cmdre Cogdon, chief of the J3 staff at NDHQ, testified before us that he had no knowledge of this card.
This process was further complicated by the issuance of a second aide-mémoire on December 16, 1992, which had been prepared at NDHQ under the direction of Capt (N) McMillan. In English only, it was sent to the Chief of Staff, 1st Canadian Division, Kingston, to replace the first version produced by the three CARBG officers. It was substantially different from that first version and was forwarded to Col Labbé in Somalia with an accompanying letter from Capt (N) McMillan, stating that the document was a recommendation only.
NDHQ was informed on December 17th that Col Labbé had approved the new aide-mémoire and that he wanted it translated and produced "as soon as practicable". The cards were produced on December 23rd, and members of CARBG's main party were given copies as they left CFB Petawawa for their flights to Somalia between December 28, 1992 and January 1, 1993.
The first aides-mémoire were to be replaced by the second version as the main party arrived in Somalia. Evidence indicates that there was confusion about replacement cards and whether the old ones were actually destroyed as they should have been. Witnesses before us indicated that the emphasis in the first aide-mémoire (prepared by CARBG officers) was on the use of force and aggressiveness, while the second version (prepared at NDHQ) stressed self-defence, minimum force, and restraint. (Adding to the confusion, a third card was sent to NDHQ by 1st Canadian Division, Kingston, in mid-February, stating that the proposed guide had been developed in Somalia and requesting that it be reproduced in pocket size for soldiers.)
The NDHQ operation order for Operation Cordon asked for a specific declaration of readiness from commanders. In November 1992, officers at NDHQ had been concerned about the CAR's state of readiness following reports of disciplinary and training problems and the dismissal of the Regiment's Commanding Officer. However, their concerns about the Airborne were not apparent by December as Operation Deliverance was being planned. The operation order from NDHQ for Operation Deliverance did not require the issuance of a declaration of operational readiness, and no senior officer inquired as to the state of the unit until just before the deployment of the advance party in mid-December 1992.
During the pre-deployment period there appeared to be a serious breakdown of command in the CF and the LFC with respect to an assessment of the preparedness of the troops and declaration of operational readiness of the CARBG for its operational duty in Somalia. Evidence before us indicates that the CDS and commanders did not establish clear standards of operational readiness for the CF, for LFC, for the UN standby peacekeeping unit or, in particular, for units assigned to Operation Deliverance, and that there was no established agreement among the responsible officers as to the meaning of the term 'operational readiness'. This lack rendered the assessment exercise, when it occurred, a purely subjective evaluation; that is, it came to mean what it suited the officers to mean at the time.
Although it had been recognized that the CAR had failed to act as a regiment during the Operation Cordon evaluation exercise, Stalwart Providence, no substantive effort appears to have been made to correct problems exposed during the exercise, or to retest the unit after the very limited remedial training that did take place. Additionally, evidence shows that no tactical evaluation was made for Operation Deliverance, even though most important aspects of the peace enforcement mission and unit organization were different from Operation Cordon. At the de Faye Board of Inquiry, NDHQ staff officer Cmdre Cogdon testified that we were reacting to a political imperative to make [Operation Deliverance] happen as quickly as we can, to jump on a political bandwagon and to get in there...to get in there almost at the same time as the Americans could."
The CARBG left for Somalia with serious internal problems of organization, leadership, and discipline. It had not trained effectively as a battle group and it had not had time to train on an important and central element of its mission's concept of operations -- the Rules of Engagement. Significant changes to the mission -- that is, to the U.S.-led peace enforcement mission, Operation Deliverance, and to the composition and size of the force to be deployed to Somalia -- should have alerted senior officers to the need to reassess the readiness of the Airborne for the more complex operation in Somalia.
There were enough significant differences to require a separate and complete assessment, even given the tight time frame for deployment, and officers at SSF and LFC understood the need to do so. LGen Gervais ordered MGen MacKenzie "to identify, assemble and prepare the Operation Deliverance battle group and declare them ready for deployment". Nevertheless, no effective action was taken by any commander in the chain of command to make such an assessment or to respond to orders to do so. The fundamental military principles of operational readiness were disregarded by the chain of command.