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Dr. Roger Sarty named chair of the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century
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Dr. Roger Sarty, a Laurier professor and one of Canada’s premier military historians, has been named chair of the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century (CCS21).
He replaces Dr. Jack Granatstein, who headed CCS21 since its inception in 2001.
The organization, which has about 1,300 members who include academics, retired military personnel and many people with a general interest in military and security issues, was created to prepare a report that urged the government to undertake a full defence and security review.
“The government’s last White Paper on defence came out in 1994,” says Sarty. “It was a cost-cutting document. But this is a new world. We now have one superpower and a whole pile of 19th-century-style regional conflicts. The government has to decide how much and what we can do in these regional conflicts.”
The association is based in Calgary, where it has a modest number of staff people, including an administrator, webmaster and researcher.
The Canadian military, Sarty says, has been on a downward trend for the past 40 years. The army had 120,000 regulars and 50,000 reserves in the late ’50s and early ’60s, but that number has now dropped to 55,000 regulars and about 22,000 reserves.
That may be a sufficient number of troops to monitor situations where ceasefires exist, but it is insufficient for situations like Bosnia, Rwanda or Afghanistan, where peace must be imposed instead of monitored, Sarty says.
Sarty was a military historian and research supervisor at National Defence Headquarters for 17 years before joining the Canadian War Museum in 1998. As deputy director of the museum from 2000–2003, he headed exhibition and public programming development for its new building in Ottawa, which is to open in May.
He has written or co-authored eight books. No Higher Purpose: The Official History of the Royal Canadian Navy in the Second World War, 1939–1943, was named the best book of 2003 by the Canadian Nautical Research Society.
Sarty joined Laurier in 2004, where he is a professor of military and Canadian history and research director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies.