From Cold War to Present Day

The Army Since 1945

A New Mission

The Liberals returned to power in 1963 with a radical programme of change for the Armed Forces, including reduced budgets and strength and a new study of the reserve. On 18 November 1963 the Chiefs of Staff Committee reported to the minister, Paul Hellyer, that the reserve would not be very useful in a major overseas conflict but could always be employed for territorial defence and survival operations following a nuclear attack. However, Lieutenant-General Walsh explained that the militia could have a future if its personnel were cut back from 51,000 to 30,000 - the numbers had stood at 180,000 immediately after the Second World War - and given real military tasks in Canada and overseas.

Hence yet another commission was established, this time to see what could be done with 30,000 men and women. The job of this commission was to define the role of a force whose size had been politically determined. As might be expected, large numbers of units were expunged from the order of battle to become mere names on the supplementary list. Also, units were identified as major or minor.

In the 1970s the reserve manpower ceiling would fall to 19,200, then rise again in the 1980s and officially stabilize at around 23,000 after the various cuts beginning in 1993 had been made. Of this total - which could actually be higher - approximately 14,500 are members of the Army Reserve.