A new naval capability?

The Canadian government's commitment of ground forces in Afghanistan in offensive operations against the Taliban arguably represents a new willingness of the government to consider the employment/deployment of the Canadian military to shape proactively portions of the world landscape as opposed to waiting for the requirement to act in a defensive manner to defend the status quo.

Elements of this world outlook were demonstrated during the first Gulf War with the employment of CF-18 Hornets in a limited offensive strike role. From a strategic perspective, if the Canadian government is to continue to use offensive military force as an instrument of both defence and foreign policy, it would be well advised to acquire a strike capability for its naval forces.

Naval platforms have inherent flexibility that is absent in land and air forces, namely the ability to operate independently within 12 miles of potentially hostile shores for extended periods of time. They would provide to the government the ability to strike inland without the considerable logistical and foreign political support required to stage land and air forces, and could be used to demonstrate serious political resolve without having to put Canadian military personnel in physical jeopardy.

Perhaps in all the discussions about new ships there should also be serious consideration about the acquisition of strike capability for the Navy (e.g., TLAM - Tomahawk Land Attack Missile).