Transformation of Canada’s Fighter Capability: A Generational Perspective


  • Alan Stephenson Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute (Col ret’d)

Author Biography

Alan Stephenson, Fellow, Canadian Global Affairs Institute (Col ret’d)

Alan Stephenson is an aviation and defence consultant, an Academic Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI), and a 35-year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. Following his retirement from the Royal Canadian Air Force, Alan completed his PhD in Political Science at Carleton University writing his thesis on Canadian National Security Culture. Alan is a graduate of Royal Roads Military College with a BSc in Physics and the United States Air Force Air War College where he received a Master of Strategic Studies with a focus on the strategic employment of airpower. He was the first non-American student to have won the prestigious

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Strategy Essay Competition with his master’s thesis, “Shades of Gray: Gradual Escalation and Coercive Diplomacy”, which included over 4000 entries from all US national security colleges.

Alan’s extensive knowledge of NORAD and NATO follows from his experience as a CF-18 and CF-104 pilot with 3600 hours flying fighters and as a staff officer at all levels of command. Having held senior appointments such as Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff, NATO AFNORTH Chief of Tactical Evaluation, Director of Western Hemisphere Policy, and as a member of the Permanent Joint Board on Defence, he has a broad understanding of military and interagency operational and strategic interaction, both domestically and internationally.

Operationally, Alan was the Wing Operations Officer 4 Wing Cold Lake, 2000-2001, in charge of the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range and Exercise Maple Flag as well as Acting Wing Commander Cold Lake for a five-month period in 2000. Alan commanded the deployed CF-18 combat squadron in Aviano, Italy, following the NATO air campaign over the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and 410 Tactical Fighter (Operational Training) Squadron, Canada’s CF-18 basic and advanced ‘top gun’ training schools. As a CF-18 instructor on his first tour at 410 Squadron, Alan was the electronic warfare and radar specialist for both the basic and Fighter Weapons Instructor Course and conceived the highly successful Fighter Electronic Warfare / Advanced Radar Course (FEWAR) that is now foundational in advanced fighter training.

Currently, Alan is a Senior Associate with David Pratt and Associates concentrating on aviation and defence issues. In addition, he supports the RCAF Air Warfare Centre in military doctrine and concept projects through Space Strategies Consulting Ltd. As lead writer, Alan has worked closely with military subject matter experts in delivering new

RCAF Control of the Air, Air Attack, and Force Generation draft doctrines as well several concept papers. Alan’s latest contribution to CGAI was “When Deterrence Fails: Is NORAD Enough?” with an analysis of the RCAF future trajectory soon to be submitted.






Canadian Air force Centennial