Volume 1 sets out the major themes to be explored within our report.
Included in that Volume is a discussion of some of the principles
which we consider to be fundamental to the proper functioning
of the military. Following that, we investigate the systems, structures
and relationships the Canadian Forces had in place at the time
of preparing for and deploying to Somalia. Next, we recount in
narrative form the story of what we learned about the Somalia
deployment. The complete story was pieced together with meticulous
care from the testimony and documentation that was available to
At important junctures in that narrative we identify for the reader
events which, in our view, signal system malfunction. Those points
are warning signs - precursors of issues to be explored in detail
in our analysis and findings. Thus, in Volumes 2, 3, 4, and 5
we analyze the details of deviations from the benchmark principles
and themes. These Volumes contain the essential distillation of
the Inquiry's labours. In Volumes 2, 3, and 5 we discharge our
mandate by exploring the issues we were charged to investigate,
making findings with respect to problems encountered, and offering
recommendations to repair a system which allowed such problems
to occur. In Volume 4, we investigate the failures of senior leaders
with respect to the pre-deployment phase and with respect to disclosure
of information and destruction of documents.
In spite of the truncation of our mandate, we have been able to
effectively address almost all the points in our terms of reference,
although not necessarily to the extent initially contemplated.
Even as modified at the eleventh hour, our terms of reference
give us latitude to report, at our discretion, on whatever we
felt we had properly canvassed. Certainly, with more time we could
have carried our investigation even further. Our unfinished mandate
is discussed in Chapter 42 in Volume 5.
Our chosen themes and principles are tightly interwoven both in
terms of their theoretical treatment and the on-the-ground realities
to which they refer. Foremost among them are leadership and accountability,
which to a great extent underlie all the others. (These are discussed
in detail in Chapter 15 and Chapter 16 in Volume 2). We have gone
to great lengths to research, study, and delineate our understanding
of how these twin pillars uphold the functioning of the military
within a free and democratic Canadian society.
We have examined how these ideals should be realized in the structure
and functioning of the chain of command (Chapter 17 in Volume
2), and maintained through the exercise of discipline (Chapter
18 in Volume 2). We note in particular how the entire hierarchy
of the military is linked by responsibility and accountability.
Interlinked duties extend outwards from each officer in every
direction: upwards to higher command, outwards to fellow officers,
downwards to the officers and soldiers under their command. They
are not limited by specific orders or tasks: military tradition
also demands that officers inform their superiors faithfully and
fully and that senior officers support those junior to them with
proper supervision and oversight.
The success or failure of a mission is directly attributable to
how well it is planned. Therefore, knowing the events of the weeks
and months before the incidents that sparked our Inquiry is essential
to understanding the systemic failures that created the circumstances
which allowed certain dishonourable incidents to take place. Accordingly,
we explore the various component elements of mission planning:
how the military gathers intelligence and information, how higher
command determines the suitability of forces for their assigned
tasks (Volume 2, Chapters 19 and 20), how training is planned
and implemented (Volume 2, Chapter 21), and, in particular, how
Rules of Engagement are created, promulgated and impressed upon
the troops (Volume 2, Chapters 21 and 22).
All these elements of mission planning contribute to operational
readiness. Therefore, we placed great importance on investigating
how the Canadian Forces (CF) determines that a unit is ready to
be committed for action, specifically examining the systems and
relationships that were in place during 1992 at the time of the
Somalia operation (Volume 2, Chapter 23).
We also looked at policing and prosecutions within the system
of military justice (Volume 5, Chapter 40). In so doing, we paid
particular attention to the powers and responsibilities of commanding
officers and the notion of command influence in the conduct of
investigations and prosecutions. We also examined the security
and investigative functions of military police, especially regarding
how they are deployed and what constitutes appropriate strength
for different kinds of operations. These considerations in turn
led to an examination of the structural and institutional adequacy
of prevailing arrangements within the office of the Judge Advocate
One of the basic themes explored in this report relates to openness
and the disclosure of information (Volume 5, Chapter 39). As we
carried out our probe, we were forced to use valuable time, that
had been reserved for other purposes, to confront problems of
inadequate information disclosure by Department of National Defence
(DND) that were affecting the efficacy of our work. At the outset,
we expected to investigate how information had been actively or
passively withheld from those who should have known about the
incidents that initiated our Inquiry. Alarmingly, we were subjected
to a process of obfuscation and denial that was strikingly similar
to that which we were charged to investigate. The allegations
of cover-up that we pursued are of particular concern in that
they extend beyond the domain of the military to affect the rights
of all Canadians in a free society.
In the chapters which follow, we present our disturbingly negative
assessment of what transpired in the Somalia deployment. Our analysis
explores the problems that beset the Somalia mission and infected
the structure and functioning of the CF.
Three lengthy chapters, two describing a process (mission planning
in Volume 3, Chapters 24 and 25) and the other, an event (the
March 4th incident, Volume 5, Chapter 38) merit a word of explanation.
These chapters are essentially case studies of what can go wrong.
The mission planning analysis and the March 4th incident each,
in its own way, illustrates the multiple failures that occurred
at virtually every turn of this operation. They demonstrate vividly
a mission so ill-conceived that many Canadians will wonder why
consequences even more shocking than those that led to this Inquiry
did not happen or have not come to light.
In the end, following our analysis of the key issues we offer conclusions about what happened and why, and make a number of recommendations. We found a multiple of contributing reasons for the incidents in Somalia that must be of concern to the government and addressed at every level of the military and the Department of National Defence. But in essence, we found that the twin pillars - leadership and accountability - became so undermined that they no longer fully supported the roles and functions of the Canadian Forces.