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Research – Navies and naval matters

Guide to Sources for Research into the Royal Canadian Navy

Post-Cold War Naval Strategy

Until the end of the Cold War (typically marked with the fall of the Berlin Wall in Novemmber 1989), the Canadian Navy’s strategic development was shaped primarily by alliance politics, initially as an element of the British Empire and Commonwealth, and then as the country increasingly fell within the American orbit and as part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) force structure. Beginning in the early-1990s, the naval leadership appreciated the need to re-examine its strategic rational within a more nationalistic context, and embarked upon an evolving process of self-examination, producing a series of strategic think-pieces. The Naval Marine Archive holds what is probably a unique collection of these documents outside of the Navy itself; they are listed here chronologically by title, and unless otherwise indicated were promulgated under the authority of the Commander of Maritime Command (after 2011 the Royal Canadian Navy).


All the Ships that Sail

All the Ships that Sail: A Study of Canada’s Fleets (Treasury Board Secretariat, 15 October 1990). Sometimes referred to “The Osbaldeston Report” after its principal author, Gordon F. Osbaldeston, former Clerk of the Privy Council.


maritime command 2008

The Maritime Command Vision – Charting the Course to Navy 2008 / La Nouvelle Conception du Commandement Maritime : Trace la voie pour la marine de l’an 2008 (VAdm P.W. Cairns, 4 June 1993).


naval vision 21st century

The Naval Vision: Charting the Course for Canada’s Maritime Forces into the 21st Century / Regard sur l’avenir de la marine du Canada : Bâtir les forces maritimes canadiennes du XXIe siècle (VAdm P.W. Cairns, May 1994).


1994 white paper

1994 Defence White Paper / Le Livre blanc sur la Defense du 1994 (David Collenette, Minister of National Defence, 1994).


Adjusting course

Adjusting Course: A Naval Strategy for Canada / Changement de cap : une stratégie navale pour le Canada (VAdm G.L. Garnett, April 1997).


shaping the future

Shaping the Future of Canadian Defence: A Strategy for 2020 / Façonner l’avenir de la défense canadienne : une stratégie pour l’an 2020 (Deputy Minister of National Defence Jim Judd & Chief of the Defence Staff J.M.G. Baril, June 1999).


leadmeak 2020

Leadmark – The Navy’s Strategy for 2020 / Point de mire : Stratégie de la marine pour 2020 (VAdm G.R. Maddison, 19 June 2001). Note, produced in two formats: 1) “full” 176pp + appendices, separate English and French volumes; and 2) “Summary / Precis”, 48pp each language in a single volume.



The Canadian Navy’s Blueprint -- Way Ahead Papers to 2010 (VAdm R.D. Buck, 9 April 2002).


security agenda

The Canadian Navy and the New Security Agenda: Proceedings of the Maritime Security and Defence Seminar, Toronto, 26-27 April 2004 : Ann L. Griffiths (ed.) (Dalhousie University Centre for Foreign Policy Studies: Halifax, 2004).


Securing Canada’s Ocean Frontiers

Securing Canada’s Ocean Frontiers; Charting the Course from Leadmark / La Sécurisation des frontières maritimes du Canada : Le cap donné par Point de mire (VAdn M.B. MacLean, May 2005).


horizon 20

Horizon 2050: A Strategic Maritime Concept for the Canadian Forces / Horizon 2050 : Un concept stratégique maritime pour les Forces canadiennes (VAdm P.A. Maddison [nd, 2013]).


Commander’s Guidance and Direction to the Royal Canadian Navy

Commander’s Guidance and Direction to the Royal Canadian Navy: Executive Plan – 2013 to 2017 / Conseils et directives du commandement à la Marine royale canadienne : Plan directeur – 2013-2017 (VAdm M.A.G. Norman [nd, 2013]).



This is a work in progess, to rationalise, facilitate and expand our existing resouces. We would appreciate any suggestions for improvements.


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Naval Marine Archive
The Canadian Collection

Revised: March 2023