Continental Integration of Military Command Structures: A Threat to Canada’s Sovereignty


The issue of continental integration of military command structures has been on the US-Canada agenda since April 2002.  Until recently, it has barely been mentioned by the Canadian media.

Territorial control over Canada is part of Washington’s geopolitical and military agenda as formulated in April 2002 by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  “Binational integration” of military command structures is also contemplated alongside a major revamping in the areas of immigration, law enforcement and intelligence.

Since 2002, Ottawa has been quietly negotiating a far-reaching military cooperation agreement. In  November 2004, Global Research published a detailed article on the subject, an abridged version of which was accepted for publication as an Op Ed piece in the Toronto Star. That article never appeared in print. More generally, the Canadian media has failed to provide coverage of an issue which strikes at the heart of Canada’s territorial sovereignty. 

What the current news coverage fails to acknowledge is that the US Military can cross the border and deploy troops anywhere in Canada, in our provinces, as well station American warships in Canadian territorial waters. This redesign of Canada’s defense system has for the last four years been discussed behind closed doors, not in Canada, but at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado, at the headquarters of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).

The creation of NORTHCOM announced in April 2002, constitutes a blatant violation of both Canadian and Mexican territorial sovereignty. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld announced unilaterally that US Northern Command would have jurisdiction over the entire North American region. Canada and Mexico were presented with a fait accompli. US Northern Command’s jurisdiction as outlined by the US DoD includes, in addition to the continental US, all of Canada, Mexico, as well as portions of the Caribbean, contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the Mexican, US and Canadian coastlines as well as the Canadian Arctic.

NorthCom’s stated mandate is to “provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need.”

(Canada-US Relations – Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR),

Rumsfeld is said to have boasted that “the NORTHCOM – with all of North America as its geographic command – ‘is part of the greatest transformation of the Unified Command Plan [UCP] since its inception in 1947.'” (Ibid)

In my “censored” Toronto Star article,  I had warned that the process of Bi-National Integration implying the integration of military command structures was slated to be completed in May 2006:  

“What we are dealing with is a “military marriage’ characterized by the integration of the two countries’ command structures. 

Missile Defense is part of “the vows” of this “military marriage”, something which nobody in Canada wants to talk about.

This military marriage has certain underlying obligations and commitments.  

If Canada accepts to join NORTHCOM and integrate US command structures, it not only  “promises to cherish” Star Wars, it also becomes an official member of the Anglo-American military axis, integrated by Israel (unofficially) and Australia.

Canada thereby becomes a pro-active partner in America’s ongoing military adventure, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Iran, North Korea and beyond, not to mention the preemptive use of nuclear weapons in conventional war theaters directed “against rogue enemies and terrorists”.

Shortly prior to the Bush-Martin meetings in Ottawa in November 2004, it was decided to extend the Binational Planning Group arrangement until May 2006. In other words, what is really at stake is the process leading up to a formal announcement of Canada’s accession to NORTHCOM, prior to the May 2006 cut-off date.”  (emphasis added, For the comnplete article click here)

While Canada’s accession to NORTHCOM has not yet been formally implemented, it is on the agenda of the new conservative government, coinciding with the completion of the BPG’s mandate.  

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 12 May 2006

Below are the links to the original articles published by Global Research: 


Is the Annexation of Canada part of Bush’s Military Agenda? – by Michel Chossudovsky – 2004-11-24 (detailed analysis of the Bi-National Planning Group and the process of integration of military command structures).

Canada and America: Missile Defense and the Vows of Military Integration – by Michel Chossudovsky – 2005-02-23, article accepted on three occasions by the Toronto Star, never published. Recipient of Project Censored Award, University of California at Sonoma.


See Prof. Michael Byers incisive Op Ed in the Toronto Star

Continental integration by stealth

As Ottawa prepares to renew NORAD agreement, a bi-national panel suggests nothing less than the complete integration of Canada’s military, security and foreign policy into the decision-making and operating systems of the U.S., writes
Michael Byers 
Apr. 28, 2006. 01:00 AM

They seem harmless enough at first: two mid-level Canadian Forces officers and a mild-mannered bespectacled American consultant explaining the work of their 48-member Bi-National Planning Group to audiences across Canada. Their professed goal is to improve co-operation between the Canadian and U.S. militaries, the better to defend both countries.

Yet a close reading of their final report released last month, reveals that their actual intent — or at least the intent of the politicians who set their mandate — is far from benign. They seek nothing less than the complete integration of Canada’s military, security and foreign policy into the decision-making and operating systems of the U.S.

In 2002, it was revealed that Ottawa and Washington were contemplating a “combined defence plan” that would have placed our forces under the umbrella of the U.S.’s new Northern Command (NORTHCOM).

Opposition to the plan quickly led to its being shunted out of view and into the newly created Bi-National Planning Group (BPG). Based at the headquarters of NORTHCOM and the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) in Colorado Springs, the planning group was intended to devise counterpoints to critics’ concerns, while postponing formal decision-making until a more politically opportune moment.

Today, two Canadian elections later, the authors of the BPG report can hardly believe their luck. Prime Minister Stephen Harper may have only a minority government, but there is little doubt he desires closer ties with Washington.

The BPG recommendations are far-reaching. They aim at “enhanced co-ordination and co-operation among our foreign policy, defence and security organizations” at “the level (although not necessarily the form) of co-operation that now exists in NORAD.”

In NORAD, the defence of Canadian and U.S. airspace is assigned to a single command which, while supposedly based on the equality of the two countries, is always headed by a senior U.S. officer.

The BPG is, in actuality, advocating co-operation at the level of a single, U.S.-dominated command for all of Canada’s territory and our surrounding seas. Under this plan, the entire Canadian Forces, unless deployed overseas in operations not led by the U.S., could find themselves under American “operational control” with Americans making all key day-to-day decisions.

Not to worry, the BPG assures us calmly: “Command” will remain in Canadian hands. And that’s true, insofar as Canadians would retain responsibility for administrative tasks such as hiring, promotion and pensions.

The BPG also recommends closer co-operation in security and foreign policy: “Canada and the U.S. must continue to act as partners; indeed … the partnership must be expanded, to shape the future of North American defence and security, using all of the instruments of diplomatic, economic, informational and military power.”

It is in the context of information-sharing that the BPG recommends the immediate extension of NORAD into the maritime domain as part of next month’s renewal of the NORAD agreement.

Ottawa intends to follow this recommendation when it brings the new NORAD agreement, complete with a provision on maritime surveillance sharing, before Parliament in one or two weeks.

In normal circumstances, the instantaneous sharing of information on ships approaching North America might make sense.

In an age of sea-launched cruise missiles, approaching vessels could pose security threats on timelines that are too short for conventional communication protocols.

But the BPG changes the circumstances by indicating that maritime surveillance sharing is intended as a forerunner for much closer co-operation:

It calls the upcoming NORAD agreement renewal “an important step toward enhancing the defence and security of our continent. To continue this momentum a `Comprehensive Defence and Security Agreement’ is the logical next step … ”

The BPG presents four alternatives for the new agreement. The first is an expanded NORAD responsible for “all-domain warning” — in the air, at sea, on land and in cyberspace — but with its response capability limited to the air. This new, surveillance-focused NORAD would exist in parallel with Northern Command and the recently established Canadian-run Canada Command.

The second alternative involves a NORAD command that would provide both “all-domain warning and response to asymmetric threats and attacks.” Under this approach, NORTHCOM and Canada Command would continue to exist separately with “the capability to respond unilaterally to threats against their respective countries.”

However, in reality, the single command would prevail in most defence matters on the North American continent, including armed responses at sea and on land. It would also, inevitably, be dominated by the U.S., a fact which the BPG admits would generate “concerns over sovereignty.”

The third alternative gives primacy to NORTHCOM and Canada Command and demotes NORAD to a “Standing Combined Task Force” responsible for providing “bi-national, all-domain awareness and warning” to each national command and, “where appropriate, a combined and co-ordinated response to threats and attacks against Canada and the United States.”

As the BPG explains, this alternative “relies upon the … commitment of those commands toward a continental approach to defence and security.” But don’t be misled: It still envisages a comprehensive system for surveillance sharing as well as “combined” responses.

The fourth, most ambitious alternative involves “a truly integrated approach to continental defence and security through a deliberate melding of defence and security functions.” This would be achieved by “establishing a single organization responsible for all-domain, bi-national warning and execution in the realms of defence and security.”

This fourth alternative — full integration — is presented as the ultimate goal of improved co-operation.”

The BPG report thus reveals that expanding NORAD to include maritime surveillance sharing is intended to create momentum toward complete military, security and foreign policy integration.

It is part of a deliberately fostered trend that includes Canada’s involvement in the U.S.-led counterinsurgency in southern Afghanistan, the instantaneous sharing of NORAD aerospace surveillance for U.S. missile defence, and the Harper government’s support for Bush administration foreign policies on climate change, nuclear proliferation, and the Middle East.

We are being subjected to continental integration by stealth. Indeed, the BPG report warns of a “small but vocal minority” concerned about Canadian sovereignty and recommends the use of an “incremental” approach.

Beware the gentle proponents of closer military co-operation. Canada, once proudly independent, is in danger of allowing itself to be suffocated in America’s embrace.

Michael Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law at the University of British Columbia.

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About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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