ARCHIVED - A Gathering of Eagles and a discussion of the RCAF’s future

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News Article / November 27, 2015

RCAF Vision: An Agile and Integrated air force with the Reach and Power (AIRPower) essential to Canadian Armed Forces operations.

RCAF Mission: The RCAF will provide the Canadian Armed Forces with relevant, responsible and effective AIRPower to meet the defence challenges of today and into the future.

from Air Force Vectors

 From RCAF Public Affairs

A gathering of eagles took place in September 2015 at the Royal Canadian Air Force officers’ mess in Ottawa, hosted by the commander of the RCAF, Lieutenant-General Mike Hood.

As part of the RCAF general officers’ conference, past commanders of Air Command and the RCAF joined currently-serving general officers for an historic gathering. During the day, serving general officers, including those who serve outside the RCAF proper, discussed the flight plan for the RCAF, and advancing the “AIRPower – In Formation” vision, which is drawn from Air Force Vectors.

The commander also outlined the collaboration that would be welcome and in fact required among all Air Force general officers across the Canadian Armed Forces. “While I am the commander of the RCAF,” he told them, “you are the institution.”

All former commanders of the Air Force, dating back to the re-establishment of the air component of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1975, with the exception of one former commander and two commanders who have passed away, were present for a dinner that evening. The last time such a gathering took place was in 2005.

Commander’s goals

In his presentation, Lieutenant-General Hood outlined his goals and desired “end state” to the general officers, and the five key RCAF Lines of Effort underpinning these goals:

  • sustain and build upon successful delivery of high-calibre tactical air power
  • better harness the intellectual capital potential of the RCAF
  • improve RCAF airpower delivery through greater integration and coordination
  • enhance institutional discipline and accountability
  • ensure institutional commitment to one RCAF airpower airworthiness/safety system


AIRPower – in Formation

The “AIRPower” concept is taken from the RCAF vision statement and derived from RCAF capstone publication Air Force Vectors, which brings together the concepts and capabilities that position the RCAF as an Agile and Integrated air force with the Reach and Power essential for Canadian Armed Forces’ operations.

AIRPower has both a practical (air power) and an intellectual (airpower) element, and both elements, from tactical air power application to strategic airpower mindedness, need to be mastered to ensure the comprehensive and integrated application of AIRPower.

Further, to be successful, the RCAF flies ‘In Formation’.

We are one air force team, and we must fly in formation, together – irrespective of aircraft or mission. Each RCAF capability is key to the defence of our country and our values – and it is by working together – in formation – that Canadian Air Power delivers the results that we are famous for. We must also fly in formation with other services, and with the rest of the defence team – as well as our partners in other departments who help enable us prepare for future challenges.

Intellectual capital

Following Lieutenant-General Hood’s remarks, Colonel Kelvin Truss, the commanding officer of the Canadian Forces Aerospace Warfare Centre, discussed the effort to better harness the intellectual capital of the RCAF. He posed the question “Are we doing enough to leverage our intellectual capital?” to improve professional AIRPower mastery and individual AIRPower-mindedness.

The leadership “metacompetencies” required at the most senior levels – expertise, cognitive capacities, social capacities, change capacities and professional ideology –, he suggested, are not being adequately nurtured at the intermediate and advanced levels of training.

He emphasized that there is a need to overtly recognize, invest in and value a conceptual component, which is a framework of thinking within which military personnel can develop understanding about both their profession and the activities that they may have to undertake.

History and Heritage

Dr. Richard Mayne, the RCAF’s senior historian, took to the floor to discuss history and heritage as a key element in harnessing RCAF intellectual capital.

He reiterated the commander’s intent regarding this line of effort, saying, “As the steward of Canadian airpower and air power expertise in Canada, the RCAF will have a thorough understanding of its history and heritage. As a result, history and heritage will be institutionalized so that it not only strengthens the RCAF’s sense of identity and is used as a strategic lessons-learned instrument, but also forms a key element that builds AIRPower mastery and AIRPower-mindedness within the Air Force.”

Dr. Mayne noted several lines of operation within the history and heritage mandate, and some of the key issues surrounding these LOOs:

History: There are large gaps in the RCAF historiography that require publications to fill. There is also a need to capture the RCAF’s history so that it is available for tomorrow’s generations as well as future air history and AIRPower researchers.

Museums: RCAF Museums require more cohesion and coherence as strategic instruments.

Information Resource Centre: The RCAF needs to provide a first-class archives and research centre to support and encourage study of air history and air-power issues.

Commemorations: Commemorative activities at the wing and squadron levels are ongoing and upcoming, and the 100th birthday of the RCAF is less than 10 years in the future. 

Years of Service 

Commanders of Air Command

1975–78 Lieutenant-General W.K. (Bill) Carr
1978–80 Lieutenant-General G.A. (Allan) MacKenzie (deceased)
1980–83 Lieutenant-General K.E. (Ken) Lewis (deceased)
1983–85 Lieutenant-General P.D. (Paul) Manson
1985–86 Lieutenant-General D.M. (Don) McNaughton
1986–88 Lieutenant-General L.A. (Larry) Ashley
1989–91 Lieutenant-General F.R. (Fred) Sutherland
1991–93 Lieutenant-General D. (David) Huddleston
1993–95 Lieutenant-General G.S. (Scott) Clements
1995–97 Lieutenant-General A.M. (Al) DeQuetteville
2005–07 Lieutenant-General J.S. (Steve) Lucas
2007–09 Lieutenant-General A. (Angus) Watt
2009–11 Lieutenant-General J.P.A. (André) Deschamps

Chiefs of the Air Staff

1997–00 Lieutenant-General D.N. (Dave) Kinsman
2000–03 Lieutenant-General L.C. (Lloyd) Campbell
2003–05 Lieutenant-General K.R. (Ken) Pennie
2005–07 Lieutenant-General J.S. (Steve) Lucas
2007–09 Lieutenant-General A. (Angus) Watt
2009–11 Lieutenant-General J.P.A. (André) Deschamps

Chiefs of the Air Force Staff and
Commanders of the Royal Canadian Air Force

2009–12 Lieutenant-General J.P.A. (André) Deschamps
2012–15 Lieutenant-General J.A.J.Y. (Yvan) Blondin
2015–present Lieutenant-General M.J. (Mike) Hood


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