In 1993 the Canadian Forces faced a crisis that reached across all levels of the institution when the events of the Canadian Airborne Regiment in Somalia became public knowledge. The report forthcoming from the civilian Commission of Inquiry into the Deployment of Canadian Forces to Somalia uncovered a deeply flawed organization, rife with personnel unfit for duty, a dearth of leadership, and lacking organizational direction. One of the major questions that arose within public and academic discourse following the release of the report was how the Canadian Forces had reached this point of crisis.
This thesis argues that two major institutional changes- unification in 1968 and civilianization in 1972- had profoundly negative impacts on the culture of the Canadian Forces, and are key to understanding the military’s fall from grace. Using the theory of sociological neo-institutionalism to understand change within military organizations, this thesis will demonstrate a strong correlation between unification, civilianization, and the cultural changes experienced by the Canadian Forces during this period. Leadership will be used as a qualitative indicator for measuring the changes in the military’s culture.