‘Interoperability’ – Euphemism for integration and annexation of Canadian Forces in the service of empire-building


The “new” defence policy of the Trudeau Liberals espouses the goal of greater “interoperability” with U.S. and NATO military operations. This word is repeated no less than 23 times in the policy document.

This exposes the brazen deception behind Chrystia Freeland’s June 6 speech whereby Canada is declared to be “forging a new, sovereign path in light of a turbulent international political climate” and against “isolationism” to justify unprecedented military expansion in the name of “hard power.” “To rely solely on the U.S. security umbrella would make us a client state,” she said. “Such a dependence would not be in Canada’s interest.”

Interoperability is one of the main concepts and methods through which this so-called “new” “hard power” is to be exercised.

Interoperability serves a definite aim. NATO itself defines interoperability as “the ability for Allies to act together coherently, effectively and efficiently to achieve tactical, operational and strategic objectives.” [1]

It is a euphemism for integration and annexation of the Canadian Forces by the US armed forces in the service of the strategic objective, empire building by Fortress North America.

Interoperability has been a mantra of the Canadian Armed Forces since the Pearson Liberals and Paul Hellyer integrated the air, land and naval branches of the forces during the 1960s. The installation of the Pearson Liberals was a U.S. regime change operation following the refusal of the Diefenbaker government to allow the Kennedy administration to place nuclear-tipped Bomarc missiles on Canadian soil. [2]

Officials use this euphemism to justify maintaining and increasing military budgets, as significant funds are demanded to keep up with the military technology used by the United States. Military analyst Michael Byers wrote in 2015 that “interoperability is an ambiguous concept that can easily be manipulated to generate desired results.” [3]

It is closely linked with the U.S. dictate to NATO “allies” to adopt NATO’s so-called “standardization” of arms and technology. The USA used this demand as a club against the rival arms monopolies from Europe to increase its domination of the world market and the integration of all military forces under U.S. strategic command. One example concerns the Royal Canadian Navy’s decision to replace the British-made Tigerfish torpedoes on the Victoria-class submarines with American-made Mark 48 torpedoes. [4] The Navy is the branch of the Canadian forces most highly integrated into the U.S. Armed Forces.

Today French Rafales land on U.S. aircraft carriers, while Eurofighter Typhoons are operated by the British, German, Italian and Spanish air forces in operations with the United States. Along with arms, interoperability is repeatedly used to justify participating in U.S. and NATO military and naval exercises in Canada or the U.S. itself, as well as throughout the world. The commander-in-chief of NATO’s armed forces by treaty as well as of NORAD is always an American.

By the U.S. Constitution, all U.S. commanders are subordinate to the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces, the U.S. President. In fact, this means that through the NORAD treaty it is Donald Trump who is the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces – the man whom the media claim the Trudeau policy is directed against!

The occasional appointment of a Canadian officer to command this or that exercise is touted as an example of the colonized armed force proving its worth as an equal in the Roman pantheon and even as an “bilateral” or “multilateral” example of maintaining sovereignty.

Interoperability is an operating principle of the Department of National Defence dictating the appointment of the highest and most senior commanders of the Canadian Forces. Over the last 15 years or more, there has not been one Chief of Staff who has not been vetted or trained by the U.S. Armed Forces as their lackey.

It also provides for their seamless integration into the profitable ranks of the U.S. arms monopolies based in Canada. Lieutenant Général Charles Bouchard was lionized as a “hero” by the Harper war government in obscene ceremonies on Parliament Hill in November 2011 and at that year’s Grey Cup in Vancouver for his brave command of NATO’s air destruction of Libya in 2011 – a war crime. Throughout Bouchard had made it clear he held final authority for approving all targets to give the impression that NATO was quite independent of the U.S. and the U.S. was merely playing a supporting role in the aggression against Libya. Bouchard once served in the U.S. Army in Fort Hood, Texas and had been deputy commander of NORAD. Bouchard took his war crimes to the bank. In September 2013 Lockheed Martin Canada announced it had hired Bouchard, effective immediately. Bouchard would report to the executive vice-president of Lockheed Martin International, Pat Dewar. “Bouchard will assume leadership of the portfolio of Lockheed Martin activities in Canada and will be the corporation’s lead representative in the country,” according to the release. [5]

Fortress North America

One of the main aims of the integration of the Canadian Forces as well as those of Mexico into the U.S. military is to seamlessly operate as one unit within the continent of the Americas under the banner of “hemispheric security” and “binational” or “trinational” integration. It is also to open the door wide for U.S. armed forces to easily enter into Canada and Mexico under one pretext or another without facing significant resistance. Since 9/11 and the orchestrated blaming of Canada for the entry of terrorists into the United States, successive governments have carried out detailed work at different levels of the state in this direction.

“Baby steps”

The process is called “baby steps” by the government. In hearings into the Shiprider program, which has U.S. border agents enforcing Canadian law on Canadian seaways. RCMP Chief Superintendent Joe Oliver, the Mounties’ director general for border integrity, stated:

“We recognized early that this approach would raise concerns about sovereignty, of privacy, and civil liberties of Canadians. We said ‘Let’s take baby steps, let’s start with two agencies to test the concept, let’s demonstrate to Canadians and Americans that such an approach might work.” These “baby steps” are taken on a regular basis to keep Canadians unaware of the extent to which successive Liberal and Conservative governments have placed Canada under U.S. command. [6]

Today there is not a single day in the year when U.S. armed forces are not exercising on Canadian soil in the name of “interoperability.” Interoperability is not reciprocal. Military exercises rehearsing “interoperability” aim to acquire “domain awareness” (of geography, topography, demographics, transportation systems and routes) and are presented as “joint” operations. Virtually all Canadian land, sea and waterways shared with the U.S., such as the Great Lakes, and aerospace are now under U.S. military command. U.S. security forces operate in Canada without even the knowledge of various sections of Canada’s national security apparatus, which are supposed to be protecting Canadians from internal and external threats.

Along with the U.S. nuclear submarine base at Nanoose on Vancouver Island, the U.S. maintains well over 50 other installations within Canada, including CIA, FBI, Coast Guard and Customs spaces, many of them invisible to the public eye. Along with the military command level, the process of “binational integration” is occurring in the areas of immigration, customs, police and intelligence, ports, including the deployment of units of related agencies such as the CIA, FBI, Coast Guard and Customs under U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) within Canada on a permanent basis on Canadian soil.

Integration of armed forces

On NORAD, the defence policy states that Canada will “expand our capacity to meet NORAD commitments by improving aerospace and maritime domain awareness and response, and by enhancing satellite capability. We will also procure an advanced fighter capability and ensure we remain interoperable with our American allies.”

Using the pretext of interoperability, the defence policy hides the fact that when USNORTHCOM became operational in October 2002, both U.S. “homeland defence” and NORAD were placed under one U.S. unified command.

The new regional command, USNORTHCOM was announced under the American Unified Command Plan (UCP) on April 17, 2002 by then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. [7] NORTHCOM was to, “as directed by the President or the Secretary of Defense, provide military assistance to civil authorities including consequence management operations,” Rumsfeld said.

NORTHCOM was allocated responsibility for the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, portions of the Caribbean including Jamaica and Puerto Rico, and the contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the North American coastline. [8] USSOUTHCOM exercises control over Central and South America.

Combatant Commander NORAD, General Ralph E. Eberhart, thus assumed command of NorthCom when it was created on 1 October 2002.

Secret discussions were held in 2013 to “fully integrate military forces” of the U.S. and Canada. The meetings for a “Canada-U.S. Integrated forces program” were “led at the highest levels, with then Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson and the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey (now retired), meeting on ‘several occasions’ to hash out a plan that included an option for ‘fully integrated forces.’” CBC reported, “The planning was deliberate and sustained, and it happened at the highest levels of both forces.” Ostensibly, “efforts were ultimately shut down and refocused on improving interoperability between the forces.”[9]

Lawson, an air force general, was previously Deputy Commander NORAD from July 2011 to August 2012. In 1988, Lawson had been promoted to Major and was posted to Montgomery, Alabama to attend the United States Air Force Air Command and Staff College. In 2000, he completed the United States Air Force Air War College[10]

An unequal agreement pushed through in December 2002 amidst the hysteria following 9/11 allows U.S. troops to enter Canada in response to a “threat, attack or civil emergency” concerning critical infrastructure or to protect “potential targets” such as nuclear power plants or oil and gas pipelines. Further, agreements under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and the Visiting Warships Act grant immunity to American and foreign military personnel from prosecution in Canada.

This raises the legitimate question as to what other secret arrangements have been signed by quisling governments, binding Canadian lives and assets hostage in the service of a foreign power. The history, accompanied by secret agreements with Canada willing to obey its dictates and permitting the covert stationing of weapons of mass destruction on Canadian soil together with the inevitable “accidents”, is revealing.

The Defence Policy Review leading to the Trudeau Liberals’ “new defence policy” focused on whether the military is “properly” equipped, not its aim or who it serves. This followed the pattern established by the Chrétien Liberals in 1994/95, when they conducted a review of defence and foreign policy but did not question Canada’s membership in NATO and NORAD. Since then, subsequent governments have all been war governments that have systematically placed Canada’s military under the direct control of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies and U.S. warmongering. Interoperability is one of the mantras serving this perverse aim.

Sovereignty Yes, Annexation No!

Get Canada Out of NATO!

Dismantle NATO and NORAD!

Make Canada a Zone for Peace!


1. NATO Public Diplomacy Division, “Backgrounder: Interoperability for Joint Operations,” July 2006; available at: http://www.nato.int/nato_static/assets/pdf/pdf_publications/20120116_ interoperability-en.pdf

2. Prominent journalists such as Charles Lynch of Southam News were incorporated into the coup d’ état operation. See Richard Sanders, “1962-1963, ‘Knocking Over’ ‘Dief the Chief’’: How the U.S. Ambassador Helped Engineer ‘Regime ChangeÆ in Canada,” Global Research, March 31, 2003

3. Michael Byers, Smart Defence: A Plan for Rebuilding Canada’s Military, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, June 2015.

4. CBC News, “Navy to upgrade torpedoes for troubled subs,” 8 April 2011; available at http://www.cbc.ca/ news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/04/08/ns-submarines-torpedoes.html

5. Laura Payton, “F-35 maker hires ex-general who led NATO Libya mission:Charles Bouchard accepts job with Lockheed Martin,” CBC News, September 24, 2013; available at http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/f-35-maker-hires-ex-general-who-led-nato-libya-mission-1.1866406

See also William Hartung, “Lockheed Martin’s Shadow Government,” tomdispatch, January 11, 2011; available at http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/175339/tomgram%3A_william_hartung%2C_lockheed_martin%27s_shadow_government

6. “US forces make ‘baby steps’ into Canada,” November 14, 2013. (TML Weekly, September 28, 2013 – No. 38)

7. “Northern Command to Assume Defense Duties October 1,” American Forces Press Service, 25 September 2002.

NorthCom’s 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.” In no sense an incidental modification, Rumsfeld estimated that the introduction of NorthCom, and its resulting designation of North America as a geographic command, “is part of the greatest transformation of the Unified Command Plan since its inception in 1947.” (Northern Command to Assume’, American Forces Press Service.)

NorthCom’s functions are twofold. First, NorthCom assumed the defence of the American homeland. This role requires that NorthCom “conduct operations to deter, prevent, and defeat threats and aggression aimed at the United States, its territories, and interests in the assigned area of responsibility.” (United States, Department of Defense, Unified Command Plan changes take effect; available at <http://www.jfcom.mil/newslink/storyarchive/2002/pa100202.htm&gt;, 17 October 2002.)

Second, NorthCom will, “as directed by the President or the Secretary of Defense, provide military assistance to civil authorities including consequence management operations.” (Ibid.)

It was revealed at the time that Ottawa and Washington were contemplating a “combined defence plan” that would have placed Canadian Forces directly under the umbrella of NorthCom. Opposition to the plan quickly led to its being shunted out of view and into the newly created Bi-National Planning Group (BPG) set up late in 2002. The planning group in charge works out of NORAD headquarters at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado.

8. Remarks of Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Petersen Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1 October 2002; available at http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/2002/s20021001-depsecdef1.html.

9. James Cudmore, “Canadian military explored plan to fully integrate forces with U.S.,” CBC News, September 30, 2015; available at http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-military-integration-canada-us-1.3248594

10. Biography: T. J. Lawson, CMM, CD CANADIAN FORCES. NORAD.

An earlier version of this article appeared in a Facebook post and in TML Weekly, June 10, 2017. The article has been subsequently revised and expanded, and footnotes added.


1 Comment

Filed under Canada, Canadian Forces, United States

One response to “‘Interoperability’ – Euphemism for integration and annexation of Canadian Forces in the service of empire-building

  1. Pingback: The sound of war drums over Ukraine | Tony Seed's Weblog

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