Teaching Philosophy

Walter Dorn’s Teaching Philosophy: Encourage the Inquiring Mind

The best way to learn is to thirst for knowledge. That is best achieved by exercising freedom of inquiry. The university teacher, whether in a civilian or military educational institution, has an important responsibility to give students the freedom to explore themes of their own choosing. This can be done through student-chosen presentation topics in seminars or in student-chosen essay topics or through open but guided discussion about readings, where students feel free to raise the topics that they find most intriguing. Dr. Dorn has practiced the freedom of inquiry not only in his classes but also in his own studies and process of life-long learning.*

Structure and detailed guidance still have great value in the learning process. Students should feel a clear sense of progress in their study of a subject. In some situations, it is valuable to have highly structured and formalized activities, such as formal debates followed immediately by free-flowing discussion. This promotes the critical thinking and the ability to see multiple sides of an argument. The “Hegelian dialectic” of thesis and antithesis is useful to find a synthesis, as can be explored in the classroom though the encouragement of  diverse viewpoints. Similarly, in essays it is important to recognize the counter-arguments to a thesis in order to minimize the counter-thesis or to reconcile the thesis and counter-thesis.

In military colleges, it is extra important to make the student feel that they have freedom of inquiry and expression— to “think outside the box” in a frequently-used military expression. During training, military personnel are taught to think alike, but during education they must be encouraged to think differently; not at cross-purposes but in order to discover the diversity of thinking and approaches that are needed to find workable solutions to complex problems.

The mottos that best describe Dr. Dorn’s approach to teaching are: “Be Curious”; “Keep an Open Mind”; and “Seek the Ever Bigger Picture.”

A quote that he likes to include in his course syllabi is from Bertrand Russell: “While we differ widely in the various little pieces that we know, we are all alike in our infinite ignorance.”  


* Dr. Dorn obtained three degrees in the physical sciences, while also taking medical sciences courses. His Ph.D. thesis was in an interdisciplinary field, biophysical chemistry (biosensors), aimed at practical applications in the detection of chemical and biological warfare agents (arms control). He conducted studies of arms control and disarmament, specializing in treaty verification, for over a decade then branched out into United Nations studies, with a focus on peacekeeping operations. In his studies and research, he has used historical cases studies, field trips, quantitative as well as qualitative analysis and theoretical models (to some extent). He is still learning.


PPC Courses

Dr. Dorn’s Teaching at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre


LIVE, MOVE AND WORK: Technology and Engineering in Modern Peacekeeping

Course designed/co-created with Col. (ret’d) Dr. David Harries for military, police and civilian students. The course was run in 2000 and 2001 at the PPC in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia.



Technology modules: monitoring;  positioning; communications & info tech (IT); geomatics; protection; and R&D.

Engineering modules: mobility; accommodation; emergency & special engineering; peace-building; weapons mgt & destr; non-lethal weapons; and land mines detection & demining.

Additional modules: the peacekeeping partnership; cultural aspects of peacekeeing; businesses and UN Procurement.

The two-week course included a technology demonstration from the Cooperative Monitoring Centre (Sandia National Labs) and a field trip to Canadian Forces Base Gagetown (where the capabilities of the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle was demonstrated). The course also ran the exercises: Ex Holdfast Transfer and  Ex Tomorrow Never Dies.



Lectures in other PPC Courses, 1998-2002:

THE ADVANCED COURSE: Issues in Modern Peacekeeping

INTERDISCIPLINARY COOPERATION: The New Peacekeeping Partnership in Action

THE HUMANITARIAN CHALLENGE: Refugees and Displaced Persons

TO SECURE THE PEACE: Civil-Military Co-Operation in Modern Peacekeeping



Geography Course

Royal Military College of Canada / Collège militaire royale du Canada



World Regional Geography:

Africa and Asia




Instructor:                       Dr. Walter Dorn, Girouard 433

  Tel: 613-541-6000 x 6742

  E-mail:  dorn-w@rmc.ca

 Office hours:                 To be determined in consultation with students.


Calendar Description

An introduction to the geography of Asia and/or Africa involving an examination of the “geographic personalities” of Asia and Africa’s nation-states and of emerging geopolitical interactions both within these regions and with other major world regions.


Detailed Description

This course presents the political geography of tropical Africa and Asia (i.e., Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern Asia and South Eastern Asia) with a focus on issues of development, governance, peace and conflict.  It begins, however, with an overview of the basic physical geography of the regions and a brief review of their history, culture, economics, forms of governments, militaries and religious affairs. Some of the great issues, such as the effects of colonialism, development assistance and systems of governance will be discussed.  The relevant regional and subregional international organizations and their relation to the UN will be examined.  The present state of peace and conflict will form the bulk of the course, with detailed case studies from each subregion and an exploration of the tools for conflict management and resolution. Finally, the future of peace and conflict in these continents will be discussed.  Lectures will be enhanced by  the use of multimedia resources and many types of maps, geographic information systems, Internet resources and other computer-aided tools. 


Seminar, one 3 hour period per week (Fall Term)



20%     Presentation (15 minutes)

20%     Map quiz

30%     Essay (3,000-5,000 words)

30%     Final Exam


Presentations will start in week 3.  The essay is due in the second-to-last week of the course.



Salter, Christopher, Joseph Hobbs, Jesse Wheeler and Trenton Kostbade, Essentials of World Regional Geography, second edition, Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, 1998.

Levett, James W., Places of the World: Saunders Map-Pak & Place-Name Workbook, Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, 1998.


This course is designed to stimulate discussions on current issues in tropical Africa and Asia.  Therefore, students are requested to read articles relating to these regions that appear in one or more daily Canadian national newspapers (the Globe & Mail or the National Post).  These may be read in paper form or on-line (globeandmail.com and nationalpost.com). Some additional current newspaper and journal articles will be sent to students by e-mail, including articles from indigenous media. In addition to the daily newspaper readings and readings to be assigned in class, the following are required reading:

Part I (Geography Basics)

Salter et al.,  Essentials of World Regional Geography, Chapters 1 (“The Geographer’s Field of Vision”) and 2 (“Physical and Human Processes that Shape the Regions”), pp. 2-54.

Part II (Development and Governance)

Salter et al.,  World Regional Geography, Chapters 17 and 18 (Part 6, “Africa South of the Sahara) and Chapters 10 and 11 (in Part 4, “Monsoon Asia”), pp.395-454, p. 257-274.

United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 1994: New Dimensions of Human Security, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 1994. p.1-116. Available on the Labs drive and at http://www.undp.org/hdro/hdrs/1994/english/94.htm (by chapter, large pdf files).

United Nations Development Programme, Human Development Report 2002: Deepening Democracy in a Fragmented World, Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 1994. pp.1-122. (Also gain familiarity with the human development indices listed on pp. 149-272).  The report is available on the Labs drive and also at http://www.undp.org/hdr2002/.

Part III (Peace and Conflict)

The Responsibility to Protect: Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty, International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, 2001. available at http://www.ciise-iciss.gc.ca/report-e.asp and on the LABS drive.

Wherever possible, readings assigned in class will be made available electronically (e.g., on the Internet) and some materials will be placed on the LABS drive (L:\polecon\GOE307).


“While we differ widely in the various little pieces that we know, we are all alike in our infinite ignorance.”

— Bertrand Russell 


Course Overview

Part I. Geography Basics

1.  Introduction to World Regional Geography

       – Defining the scope of the course, geographically and thematically.

– Examine stereotypes and popular conceptions of Africa and parts of Asia.

– Overview of Tropical Africa and Asia.


2. Physical Geography and the Tools of the Trade

      – Locations of and on the earth.  Causes of seasonal variations and climate of the tropics.

      Maps and geographical information systems.

      – Pros and cons of various map types for 3D to 2D projections (e.g., the standard Mercator projection and the controversial Peters projection).

      – Modern Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in commercial and governmental use, and free-ware available on the Internet, that can be invaluable in the study of these regions.

– Interactive maps and creative imagery, including satellite imagery showing environmental challenges to the regions.

      – Location and description of the relevant regions and subregions, the country names, the capitals and major cities, the major waterways, mountain ranges, and agricultural/industrial regions.  Major ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious groups and the changing demographics.  


3.   Human Geography of the Regions

Historical events and developments: important dates, developments and persons in the history of these regions

– Show the trade and conquest routes of the colonial powers, using historical maps.  

– Colonization and decolonization: the role of mandates/trusteeship in non-self-governing territories.

      – Origins, expansion and understanding of various religions in these two continents.

– The evolution of identity (tribal, ethnic, national, regional and world).

      – The United Nations, regional organizations and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

      – The debate over the universality of human rights.

      – Evolution of the human security concept.

      – Case study: Indian independence. 

Part II – The Developing world
4.   Human Development and Democracy

      – Types of government, historical cases; tropical African and Asian experience.

      – Indicators and trends in governance and human development (Human Development Report 2002). Changes in wealth/poverty, health/disease and other HDR indicators.  Trends in democracy (voting in multiparty elections, press freedom, human rights and civil liberties) and progress on Millennium Goals.

      – Comparative regional and sub-regional analyses.

      – What is the impact of globalization?  Have parts of Africa and Asia been left behind?


5.   Case Studies in Africa

      – Several cases will be considered using statistics (selected development and democracy indicators), chronologies of governance (historical background) and a description of current affairs.  Possible cases: Sierra Leone, Nigeria, S. Africa.

      Guest speakers with extensive experience and knowledge on the countries will be invited.      


6.   Case Studies in Asia

      – Several cases will be considered using statistics (selected development and democracy indicators), chronologies of governance (historical background) and a description of current affairs.  Possibilities: India and Indonesia.

      Guest speakers with extensive experience and knowledge on the countries will be invited.


Part III. Peace and Conflict


7.   Causes of Conflict and International Intervention

      – Possible causes of conflict as applied to these continents (e.g., power struggles, ethnic animosities, poverty, ill-conceived borders, colonial heritage, current trade imbalances, etc.).

      – Explore the “democratic peace” theory as it applies to these regions.

      – Survey the cases of armed conflict in Africa and Asia.

      – Introduction to the United Nations.

      – Explore the reasons and the results of international interventions in modern times. Compare actions by regional organizations and the United Nations.  How effective is early warning and outside intervention in preventing, managing and resolving conflict?

– The human security concept.


8.   Peacekeeping as a Conflict Management Tool in Africa

      – Examine the role of the “international” soldier in keeping peace in various parts of Africa.

      – Understand Asian attitudes towards peacekeeping.

      – Possibility of peacekeeping by regional or subregional organizations.

      – African case studies: Congo 1960-64, Namibia 1989-90, Somalia 1993, Liberia 1993-, Sierra Leone 1994-.


9.   Peacekeeping as a Conflict Management Tool in Asia

      – Asian attitudes towards peacekeeping.

      – Possibility of peacekeeping by regional or subregional organizations.

      – Asian case studies: Kashmir (1948-), Cambodia (1992-93)

      – Slide presentation on “Experiences of a UN Electoral Office in East Timor (1999)”


10. Case Study in Africa:  Rwanda

      – Geography of Rwanda.  Political and historical background to the genocide. 

– The actual and potential role of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR). 

– Could the genocide have been predicted and prevented?

      A guest speaker with extensive experience and knowledge on the Rwandan Genocide and the UN operation will be invited.


11. Case Study in Asia: Indo-Pakistani Conflicts and Kashmir

      – Slide show on the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests 1998.

      – Description of the history and current status of the conflict over Kashmir (using historical and current maps)

      – Consideration of the steps to a peace agreement.


Part IV. The Future of Development and Peace


12. Problems and prospects for human development and human security

– The meaning of human development and human security in a future Africa and Asia

– The AIDs epidemic and other obstacles.

– Official Development Assistance (ODA) practice and goals.

– The work of the UNDP, World Bank and IMF.

– The future of war and peace in Africa and Asia (comparison between genocides in Rwanda and Cambodia).

– The role of foreign aid (needs and donor targets) and conflict management tools.

– Millennium goals: progress and setbacks.


13. Seeds of Peace: An Optimistic Forecast

– Human development and stable peace: the hope.

– Does humanity learn? The lessons of conflict.

– A vision for peace in the new millennium. 

– Our changing world views and Canada’s contribution to peace and development. 



Each class will include a period of time to review and discuss recent events (picked up from the media, e.g., newspaper articles) in tropical Africa and Asia in areas relating to development, democracy, peace and conflict.


For the enjoyment and learning experience of students, it is recommended that they view the following classic films:  The Killing Fields (1984, re. Cambodian Genocide), Gandhi (re. Indian Independence), The Year of Living Dangerously (re. Indonesian coup).  A CBC documentary on the Rwanda genocide (Autopsy of a Genocide) is also recommended.  Special movie nights might be arranged, along with class discussions and critical evaluations of the content and accuracy of these films. 


International Peacekeeping Course

Royal Military College of Canada / Collège militaire royale du Canada

War Studies 508

International Peacekeeping


National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa, 2002/2003

Instructors: Dr. Walter Dorn and Dr. David Harries

Course Outline

This course examines the evolution of international peacekeeping with an emphasis on the role of the United Nations and other multilateral organizations. The political, strategic and tactical dimensions of peacekeeping are covered, drawing on the academic disciplines of history, political science, and social psychology, as well as experience in the field. The course reviews efforts to reform the conduct and improve the performance of international peacekeeping in light of recent experience, and promotes debate on its future.

Seminar, one 3 hr period per week (Two Terms)

Student Evaluation:

The course will be evaluated as follows:

10% Fall term presentation

15% Fall term minor paper (3,000-5,000 words, may be on same topic as presentation)

25% Fall term major paper (7,000-9,000 words)

10% Winter term presentation

15% Winter term minor paper (3,000-5,000 words, questions provided by faculty)

25% Winter term major paper (7,000-9,000 words)

Student presentations will start in week 4 of each term (October 1 and January 28). Minor papers are due in week 8 (October 29 and February 25) and major papers in week 13 (December 3 and April 1). Visits to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and the Department of National Defence (DND) Headquarters are planned.


Shawcross, William, Deliver Us from Evil: Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict, New York: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster, first edition, 2001.

United Nations, The Blue Helmets: A Review of United Nations Peacekeeping, third edition, New York: United Nations Department of Public Information, Third Edition, 1996.


Students are expected to read the lessons on the course Compact Disk (CD), which will be provided. Specific readings will be assigned during the course itself, taking into account student preferences. Wherever possible, the readings will be available electronically (e.g., on the Internet or on the course CD). The CD also includes an annotated bibliography with many recommended readings.

“While we differ widely in the various little pieces that we know, we are all alike in our infinite ignorance.”

– Bertrand Russell

“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

– Will Rogers

“There is a better way to do it. Find it.”

– Thomas Edison


Part I. The Nature of Peacekeeping

1. Introduction. A historical overview of peacekeeping will demonstrate the evolution of the practice and the widening roles given of peacekeepers. This process will be illustrated using images from past and present operations. Various definitions of peacekeeping and other relevant terms will be discussed. The disciplines that contribute to the study of peacekeeping will be reviewed, all within the context of the approaches that can be taken to prevent and manage conflict.

2. The Sponsors: International, Regional and Other Organizations. The United Nations is the primary sponsor of peacekeeping operations. However, some regional organizations (and coalitions and alliances) have followed suit. The structures and processes of the UN and various regional arrangements will be described. The pros and cons of using regional organizations to conduct peacekeeping will be considered, using examples from operations in the former Yugoslavia, Central America, Africa and Asia.

3. The Dynamics of Conflict and International Intervention. Peacekeeping will be situated in the larger field of conflict prevention, management and resolution. The possible causes, structures and dynamics of conflict will be presented, drawing on lessons learned and studies by Galtung, Mitchell, Kriesberg, Sandole and others. Both general and specific conflict timelines will be presented, as will various intervention strategies of third parties at different stages in escalating and declining phases of violence. Individually and collectively, students will analyse and map a variety of conflicts. As well, research methods for the study of peacekeeping will be presented.

Part II. The Evolution of Peacekeeping

4. 4. Precursors of “Peace Keeping”: Imperial Policing, Regionalism and Multinational Forces. Although the term “peacekeeping” became popular only in the 1960s, there are many historical antecedents and factors that have influenced the way we think and act in peacekeeping today. How did imperial powers keep the peace in their domains? Both peace studies and strategic studies have clear precursors in 19th and early 20th century thinking about the maintenance of peace and order. The Hague Conferences and the Red Cross Movement of the 19th century informed peace movements and international humanitarian impulses that became foundations of policy and practise in the 20th century. The efforts of European powers to preserve order on their periphery contributed to ideas about constabulary operations.

5. League of Nations Era Peacekeeping. The League of Nations was the precursor to the United Nations. Although it failed in its main objective – the prevention of a second World War, it did provided valuable guidance for the design of its successor. The League sponsored a number of missions that can be considered as peacekeeping. The experiences and lessons from a variety of peacekeeping operations of this era will be reviewed and compared with modern operations.

6. Observer Missions and the Soldier-Diplomat. Early observer missions and special UN commissions are set against the high early expectations of the UN system. Capability gaps that prevented the UN and its early missions from meeting expectations and fulfilling mandates are examined. Some observer missions did much more than observation; providing mediation and reconciliation, as well as supervision of agreements. There are definite limits to the utility of unarmed observer missions, but they can provide contribute significantly to conflict prevention and early warning.

7. UNEF: a New Form of Peacekeeping. Locating large numbers of armed peacekeepers between combatants was a new action which won great praise for the United Nations, its Secretary-General Dag Hammarskold and Canadian Foreign Minister Lester Pearson, after the Suez Crisis (1956). But it has great limitations, as was shown by the effects of the withdrawal of UNEF in 1967 and of other interpositional missions (e.g., in Cyprus and Bosnia) when caught in a cross-fire. The legacy and lessons of UNEF will be reviewed.

8. UNTEA – Forgotten Case of Transitional Administration. One of the first multidimensional peacekeeping missions was established in West New Guinea in 1962. It included a military force, observers, police, election monitors, and civil administration. UNTEA provides an example of the resort to the UN during the Cold War to ease the transition from colonial status. . It offers interesting contrasts with and lessons for transitional missions in Namibia, Cambodia, Central America, Kosovo and East Timor. Indeed, because of UNTEA’s results and the evolution of Indonesia and Papua since, the region may well host a future peacekeeping operation.

9. ONUC – Foreshadowing Modern Multidimensional Missions. The first UN mission to the Congo demonstrated the limits and legacy of force in peacekeeping , illustrated the problem with multiple mandates, exposed the variety of interpretations of “self-defence”, and provoked responses from the international community to UN attempts at conflict management, in a Cold War setting.

10. UNFICYP – Peacekeeping as Stagnation or Conflict Resolution? The UN mission in Cyprus (as with those in Lebanon and the Sinai) provides an excellent example of a buffer zone operation. An externally imposed military solution ensured that combatants could postpone indefinitely the necessary and sufficient political solution. Such peacekeeping can be a recipe for inertia (stagnation). New peacebuilding tools are needed to avoid and remove such this stagnation. Perhaps separation by force is not in the long-term common good.

11. Somalia A Humanitarian Force?. The UN and other missions in Somalia are, arguably, illustrations of the “humanitarian fallacy”: How it is futile to intervene for “humanitarian” purposes if there is no framework for military security and political stability. Fallacy or not, important lessons about the co-ordination of military and humanitarian effort were learned in Somalia, many of which have since been applied (for better or worse) to missions elsewhere, and to academic and training programmes. Humanitarian action may contribute to peace and stability when short-term relief can be connected to and followed on by long-term sustainable development. The experience of NATO and the OSCE in the Balkans and the UN-authorised mission in East Timor provide case-specific conclusions about the appropriateness of humanitarian interventions.

12. UNTAC et al. – New Hopes for Managing Transitions. The history of multinational transitional missions since the end of the Cold War includes UN efforts in Namibia, Cambodia, and Eastern Slavonia (Croatia), Kosovo and East Timor. ONUSAL, ONUCA and MINUGUA in Central America, as well as several missions in Haiti might be also be considered as transition missions. Such operations have been most effective when they engaged the support of the principal domestic actors, integrated the efforts of different mission components, and promoted capacity-building to generate local independence.

Part III. Special Topics in Contemporary Peacekeeping

13. Balkan Peacekeeping – Bugger’s Muddle or Peacekeeping’s Future? At the Cold War’s end, when the hopes for peacekeeping were rising and a peace dividend was eagerly anticipated, a decade of the Balkan explosions provided the world with a laboratory for, arguably, every conceivable form of peacekeeping. The experiments were a “very mixed success.” But, drawing lessons from the best and the worst experiences, the UN, NATO, and the OSCE are making progress, individually and collectively, within their organisations and the regimes and processes they put in place. Contributions to security sector reform and economic and social peacebuilding are being realized. But the process is slow and rough, and the experiment continues. Understanding that every case is different (and different possibly every day) is required to create the resources, processes and political will that can allow military and civilian peacekeepers to prevent and manage conflict.

14. Peacekeeping Technology and Engineering. Technology and engineering offer peacekeepers options and tools to expand the scope of their work, increase their performance. However, the manner in which the international community responds to each unique crisis, the variety and diversity of the resources pledged and allocated to each peacekeeping mission, and the huge differences in the engineering capacity, technical skills and best practises of individual peacekeepers render peacekeeping technology and engineering problematic. The “revolution in military affairs”, the increasing number and variety of NGOs in aid and development and the chaotic globalization of finance and business complicate the problems, especially in multi-dimensional, high-cost, multi-national missions under critical media scrutiny. Technology and engineering are vital tools but they can weaken peacekeeping if not wisely managed.

15. The “Business” of the Peacekeeping. Public and private businesses play a major and growing role in modern peacekeeping. The impact of developments and trends in business will be examined. The focus will be on three facts:

– the UN is a multi-billion dollar “business” continuously dealing with small, medium, large and trans-national companies in most of its member states. Increasingly the UN is partnering with business with the intent of improving structures and processes.

– business crime is global and growing. Crime obstructs peacekeeping and provokes conditions that peacekeeping attempts to prevent, mitigate and recover from.

– the increasing global recognition of human security means peacekeeping interfaces with all elements of civil society, particularly with businesses that are a key to poverty alleviation and a foundation of peace and stability.

16. Intelligence and Early Warning in Peacekeeping. Accurate and current information is vital for the management of a peacekeeping operation. Threats may exists both to the mission objectives and to the peacekeepers themselves. Early warning and preventive action requires a proactive approach to information gathering. But the UN cannot afford to engage in undercover operations and espionage. So the limits of “intelligence-gathering” activities need to clearly defined. In past and present peacekeeping operations, the UN has created dedicated information/intelligence units which have used a variety of means to gather information. The examples and lessons from past operations are helpful in defining the limits of intelligence in future operations.

17. The Future of Peacekeeping – Darkness or Lightness? Preparing for future international peacekeeping is a high-risk activity. Which scenarios, mission-types, conflict-forms should indicate the plans that are developed? What history is useful? Should peacekeeping be considered in terms of generations over time? Or should the dozens of past and continuing operations be considered as discrete examples? Perhaps, given the chaotic nature of conflicts since the Cold War, we should avoid the cost and effort of peacekeeping during and after conflict that may be inappropriate or insufficient, and focus much more on prevention, buttressed by the hope that, when prevention fails, the traditional, ad-hoc reaction will be at least minimally effective?

The assistance of Dr. David Last in preparing this course is gratefully acknowledged and much appreciated.

Summer Institute

International Peacekeeping Summer Institute
Peace Operations Summer Institute

A rigorous graduate-level credit and certificate program in peacekeeping/peace operations for credit at Acadia University, the Royal Military College of Canada (Rmc) and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC). The institute ran  in the different venues for several years: 2001 (Acadia), 2002 (PPC), and 2004 (RMC).

Topics include: peacekeeping and human rights; international law; humanitarian law; gender; media; ethics; democratization; and security sector reform.



Peace and Stability Operations Elective


C/DS 800/ELE/OL-19

Instructor:  Dr. Walter Dorn

Office:  Curtis 332, Canadian Forces College

Phone:  416-482-6800, ext. 6538

Email:  dorn@cfc.dnd.ca 

Class:  military officers from the Command and Staff Programme


Course Description

The Canadian Forces have been involved in the peace and stability operations in fractured, war-torn societies for over 60 years. In fact, the vast majority of the international operations post-WW II have been peace operations — sometimes called peacekeeping, peace support or stability operations, more recently as part of nation-building. These operations have evolved over time from early UN observer missions (eg, UNTSO in Palestine) to interposed forces (UNEF in the Sinai) to multidimensional operations (Cambodia, Bosnia), and Transitional Administrations (Kosovo, Timor). As new roles were added to deal with protracted conflicts, the complexity, players, dangers and hardships increased. Cases of peace operation successes (Namibia, Central America) and failures (Somalia, Rwanda) will be analysed, as will current operations (Afghanistan, D.R. Congo, Sudan and Haiti). As many recent cases have shown, nation-building is a difficult long-term process requiring a large degree of civil-military cooperation. In addition to the United Nations, other sponsors will be examined, including NATO and regional organizations. The increasingly robust character of peace operations will be considered in light of requirements for protection of civilians and the inherent limitations on the use of force. The contributions from all three environments will be summarized. What has been learned from recent nation-building experience in Iraq and Afghanistan? How do recent doctrine and concepts (eg, three-block war) relate to the evolving practice? How do peace operations relate to counter-insurgency and counterterrorism operations? While Canada contributes few troops at present to UN operations, will these become prevalent again after the combat mission in Afghanistan has ended? Students will get opportunities to reflect on the Canadian experience (including their own, if applicable) in current operations, including Afghanistan.

Learning Objectives

C101c — Synthesize theories, models and frameworks to make independent moral/ethical decisions.
C102a — Apply principle-based decision-making in the institutional, operation­al, and cross-cultural contexts.
C301a — Analyse the impact of social, political and technological shifts on the theory and practice of war.
C303b — Interpret the doctrine, organization, plans and ongoing operations of expeditionary operations, including involvement of OGDs and NGOs.
C501a — Analyse the theoretical underpinnings of strategic and national security-related concepts; state power and its usage; and approaches to the study of international relations.


The elective will consist of lectures and seminars in six three-hour periods. Assignment Preparation Time (APT) is two hours of APT for every hour of class, or 36 hours total. This can be broken down roughly as: 18 hours for readings (three hours weekly, roughly); eight hours for assignment; and 10 hours for exam preparation.


30%     Seminar participation
30%     Seminar presentation or mini-essay (student choice)
40%     Final exam

Student presentations (for those choosing to present) will start in Week 3 (April 27).  Students can focus on specific operations or specific aspects of an operation or on a theme relating to operations more generally.

The 1.5-hour exam will be written in the final class. It will include basic knowledge questions (20%), short answers (30%) and an essay question (50%). The set of potential essay questions will be provided in advance. If the class expresses by consensus a desire to make this a take-home exam, this can be done.

The grading rubrics provided in the JCSP syllabus will be used to evaluate student assignments.


Course Textbook (copies can be signed out from the IRC):
Bellamy, Alex J., Paul Williams, and Stuart Griffin.  Understanding Peacekeeping.  Cambridge:  Polity Press, 2004.  [341.584 B44 2004] (First edition; selected pages from the second edition will be provided).

Additional Course References

Dobbins, James, Seth G. Jones, and Keith Crane.  The Beginner’s Guide to Nation-Building. [355.005 R6 MG-557]; available from http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2007/RAND_MG557.pdf.

Canada.  National Defence.  B-GJ-005-307/FP-30, Peace Support Operations, 2002-11-06; available online.  (Note:  A revised doctrinal manual on peace/stability operations is currently being developed by the CF.)

Shawcross, William.  Deliver Us from Evil:  Peacekeepers, Warlords and a World of Endless Conflict.  New York:  Touchstone/Simon and Schuster, 2001.  [909.82 S5 2001]

United States.  Department of the Army.  Counterinsurgency.  Field Manual FM 3-24, December 2006; available online.  (34 MB)

Supplementary References

de Jong, Ben, Wies Platje, and Robert David Steele (eds.).  Peacekeeping Intelligence:  Emerging Concepts for the Future.  Virginia:  OSS International Press, 2003, 253–280.  [327.1273 P42 2003]

Dallaire, Roméo.  Shake Hands with the Devil:  The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda.  Toronto:  Random House Canada, 2003.  [355.3310971 D255 2003]

Dorn, A. Walter.  “Canadian Peacekeeping:  Proud Tradition, Strong Future?”  Canadian Foreign Policy 12, no. 2 (Fall 2005); available online.

Dorn, A. Walter.  “Intelligence-led Peacekeeping:  The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) 2006-07.”  Intelligence and National Security 24, no. 6 (December 2009):  805–835; available online.  (Copies to be provided.)

Doyle, Michael W., and Nicholas Sambanis.  Making War and Building Peace:  United Nations Peace Operations.  Princeton, NJ:  Princeton University Press, 2006.  [341.584 D69 2006]

Durch, William J.  Twenty-first-century peace operations.  Washington, DC:  United States Institute of Peace and the Henry L. Stimson Center, 2006.  [341.584 T83 2006]

Maloney, Sean M.  Canada and UN Peacekeeping:  Cold War by Other Means 1945-70.  St. Catherines:  Vanwell Publ., 2002.  [327.172 M34 2002]

United Nations.  Department of Peacekeeping Operations; available online from http://www.un.org/en/peacekeeping/.  (Explore this website).

United States Institute of Peace.  Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction.  Washington, DC:  USIP; available online from http://www.usip.org/files/resources/guiding_principles_full.pdf.


Week 1 

– Introduction:  Overview, Definition and Scope

– International Machinery

Read:  Bellamy et al., Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2 (pp. 1–55 but scan sections 1.2 and 1.3).

Read:  Shawcross, pp. 15–26.


Week 2 

-Observer Missions and Interposed Forces

– An excerpt from the film The Peacekeepers, National Film Board of Canada, will be shown [341.584 P335 2006 GUIDE]

Read:  Bellamy et al., Chapters 3, 4 and 5 (pp. 57–110).

Week 3 

– Multidimensional Missions and Transitional Administrations (Case Study Timor Leste)

– Student Presentations

Read:  Bellamy et al., Chapters 6, 7 and 8 (pp. 111–164); and chapter 12 (pp. 230–249).

Read:  Dobbins et al., Foreword (pp. iii–vii), scan Summary (pp. xvii–xxxviii).


Week 4 

– Non-UN Peace and Stability Operations

– Student Presentations

Read:  Bellamy et al., Chapters 9, 10 and 11 (pp. 165–229).


Week 5 

– Special Topics (intelligence, technology, robust operations)

– Student Presentations

Read:  Bellamy et al., Chapter 13 and Conclusion (pp. 250–275).

Read:  US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual (FM 3-24), “Paradoxes of Counterinsurgency Operations,” pp. 1–26 to 1–28.

Supplementary Reading:  US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual (FM 3-24), pp. 1–19 to 1–26.


Week 6 

– Student Presentations

– Final exam




“While we differ widely in the various little pieces that we know, we are all alike in our infinite ignorance.”  — Bertrand Russell





Walter Dorn has rich experience teaching military officers and civilians. For two decades, he has taught at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMC) and at the Canadian Forces College (CFC) in both official languages using his learner-centric teaching philosophy.

He first came to RMC in 2000 at the invitation of Professor David Last and Politics Department head Professor Joel Sokolsky to serve as the organizer (Director) of the International Peacekeeping Summer Institute which offered “critical perspectives on global peace operations.” This institute was co-sponsored with Acadia University and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre (PPC), where he had designed and taught several PPC courses from 1998 to 2002. The Institute was held during three summers (renamed Peace Operations Summer Institute) at Wolfville (Acadia University), Clementsport (PPC) and Kingston (RMC).

At RMC, he taught the War Studies course “International Peacekeeping” (WS 508) in several venues/formats: in person at RMC in Kingston and at National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) in Ottawa, and by video-teleconference from the CFC in Toronto to students across the country. The course covered a wide range of topics, as shown in the WS508 syllabus, over a full academic year. He also taught a geography course (GOE307), syllabus linked here, and received high student evaluations from the officer cadets: the Instructor Evaluation showed a mean of 4.4 out of 5. Appointed to the Department of Politics and Economics, he was responsible to the Department Head and the Dean of the Division of Continuing Studies, to review and recommend approval for the course  “Introduction to Peacekeeping” (POE110/210).

At CFC, he has been engaged from his arrival in 2003 in the development of curriculum. He drafted Learning Outcome Guides (LOGs), including guidance (scope, teaching points and readings) for lectures and seminars, and gave feedback to planners on their drafts. He served as the academic adviser for the National Security Studies Course (NSSC) and the National Security Studies Programme (NSSP) for three years. This encouraged him to maintain daily contacts with students and Senior Directing Staff.

Dr. Dorn frequently lectures in the Joint Command and Staff Programme (JCSP) at CFC on subjects such as “Just War Tradition and the Ethics of War,” “Social Fabric of Canada,” “United Nations,” and “Peace Support Operations.” Some lecture presentations (PPT) are provided here. He has also taught the following JCSP seminars:

 – Canadian Defence, Development and Foreign Policy
 –  Canadian Government and Society
 –  International Relations Theory
 –  Global Institutions
 –  Global Powers
 –  Strategic Express
 –  US Foreign and Defence Policies.

Dr. Dorn offers an annual elective in JCSP (since the first running of electives in 2007-08, evaluation) on “Peace and Stability Operations: An Evolving Practice” (DS526, 2019 syllabus here).

He has developed substantial teaching materials for the JCSP as a curriculum development officer (CDO). He has had CDO responsibility for the following curriculum (including conduct, selection of lecturers, and choice of readings) in JCSP 37:

–  National Security & International Affairs Course Introduction
–  The Evolution of Power Since 1918
–  Brazil and Latin America  
–  China and Southeast Asia
–  Europe and the EU 
–  India and South Asia
–  Middle East
–  Russia and Eurasia.

For JCSP, he has been responsible for the teaching materials (LOGs) for the following activities:

–   International Organizations: A Case Study
–   Global Institutions seminar
–   NATO
–   The Role of International Organizations
–   Transnational Issues
–   United Nations

In his capacity as Chair of the Department of Security and International Affairs (DSIA, 2010–13) at CFC, he read, edited and evaluated all LOGs for the academic courses in each programme, including the National Security Programme (NSP) and the Joint Command and Staff Programme. The JCSP course on “National Security and International Affairs” (DS 547) had 39 distinct activities (e.g., lectures, and seminars) for a total of 111 hours of programme time in the residential course and 164 hours of programme time in the distance learning (DL) version. He annually presented the opening DS 547 lecture of the residential course to overview the content and deliverables in DS 547. He also prepares the “Course Overview” and “Guidance for Instructors” in the DL version of the course. Concomitantly he served in 2010/11 and 2011/12 and 2014/15 as an Instructor for one DL syndicate, with responsibility for marking threaded discussions and essays.

He was involved in the redesign of JCSP to allow for more electives and student options (streams). In addition, as DSIA Chair he was responsible for the curriculum of the Canadian Security Studies Programme (CSSP), which is a 28-activity course held annually over two weeks.

In the past two decades, Dr. Dorn has supervised over 100 officers from a dozen nations in research papers at the master’s level for both the JCSP and NSSC/NSSP/NSP courses.

He has taught courses and gave lectures at various universities and military institutions. This website’s presentations page gives lecture titles in courses and at outside institutions, including the actual pdf and/or PPT.