The Calculus of Procurement


  • Randall Wakelam Emeritus Professor – Royal Military College

Author Biography

Randall Wakelam, Emeritus Professor – Royal Military College

Dr Randall Wakelam is an emeritus associate professor of history at the Royal Military College. Previously, Wakelam had an extensive military career which saw him fly helicopters for the Army, serving in three different squadrons before commanding 408 Squadron in Edmonton from 1991 to 1993. Between flying tours, he had staff assignments in language training policy and aircraft procurement. The latter exposed him to many of Ottawa’s vagaries in providing the hardware required to fulfill defence policy.

From 1993 and 2009 he held a variety of appointments in senior officer professional military education. He was a member of faculty at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, the military’s professional graduate school, first as a classroom instructor and then as the assistant director of air power studies. He was then involved in the rebirth of executive level PME as part of the definition and design team in the late 90s. Subsequently, he was director of professional development at the Canadian Defence Academy in Kingston, the military’s ‘ministry of education’.

Returning to CFC in 2006 as director of curriculum he led two curriculum redesigns including that of the National Security Programme for senior officers and civilian executives. It was also during these years that he completed an MA in war studies with RMC and a PhD in history at Wilfrid Laurier, both on a part-time basis.

After retirement Wakelam joined the faculty of RMC, teaching both graduate courses in the war studies programme and undergraduate courses for the departments of military leadership and history. He also works as a tutor for the college’s writing centre where he assists students both at RMC and CFC to get their ideas down clearly on paper.

His major publications include: The Science of Bombing: Operational Research in RAF Bomber Command(UTP, 2009); The Report of the Officer Development Board: Maj-Gen Roger Rowley and the Education of the Canadian Forces (ed. LCMSDS, 2010); Cold War Fighters: Canadian Aircraft Procurement, 1945–54 (UBC Press, 2012); Educating Air Forces (ed. U Kentucky Press, 2020) a volume which includes essays on the education philosophies and programmes of the RCAF as well as other major western air forces over the last century; and, On the Wings of Wat and Peace: the RCAF During the Early Cold War (ed. UTP, 2023) which examines the major priorities and functions of the RCAF between 1945 and 1965. He is currently starting work on a biography of Wilfred Curtis who was Canada’s Chief of the Air Staff from 1947 to 1953 before going on to help establish York University.






Canadian Air force Centennial