Canadian Intelligence Corps name reinstated

Article / October 27, 2017 / Project number: 17-0060

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By Steven Fouchard, Army Public Affairs

Ottawa, Ontario — Military intelligence is generally a highly secretive affair, of course, but the Canadian Army (CA) is very publicly celebrating a re-branding of its intelligence corps.

It will now be called the Canadian Intelligence Corps (C Int C), the name it held from 1942 until 1968. C Int C is still a part of the larger Intelligence Branch, a personnel branch formed in 1982, and is the organization designation used by the members who wear the Army uniform.

Lieutenant-Colonel Mathieu Boutin, Deputy Director of C Int C, noted that this puts the Corps in the unique position of celebrating two anniversaries in 2017: the 75th anniversary of the original C Int C and the 35th anniversary of the Intelligence Branch.

The name change is part of a wider initiative to put the CA back in touch with its historical roots that began in 2011 when the federal government of the day re-introduced the Canadian Army name. All of Canada’s military branches were unified under the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) banner in 1968.

Since 2011, a number of other CA corps have reverted back to historical names, including the Canadian Forces Medical Service, which was renamed the Royal Canadian Medical Service in 2013. The CA’s Engineering and Signals branches are now known as The Corps of Royal Canadian Engineers and Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.

C Int C Director Colonel Steven Desjardins said that this reinstatement will bring Army intelligence in line with those other corps. While it does give C Int C a separate and distinct identity within the larger Intelligence Branch, he added, a strong sense of unity remains.

“Our branch has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in operations, both at home and abroad,” Col Desjardins said. “That could not have been achieved without a collaborative approach. Our effectiveness comes from our ability to work together seamlessly and with one voice.”

Reinstituting the C Int C name, Col Desjardins added, will fully integrate Army Intelligence into the overall Army governance structure and strengthens the identities of both C Int C and the CAF Intelligence Branch.

Military intelligence has a long history in Canada, originating in pre-colonial times.  Its precursors include cavalry units who performed scouting roles during the Northwest Rebellion of 1885. One of those was formally dubbed the “Intelligence Corps.”

In 1903, the forerunner of the Canadian Intelligence Corps and of the Intelligence Branch, the Canadian Corps of Guides, was created. This mounted Corps’ role was to gather detailed and accurate military information on the area of operations in the event of war. 

In the First World War, Canadian Corps of Guides members served as intelligence staff officers and in various other roles, including analysis of data gathered from ground and air observation and prisoners of war. They were also the core members of the Canadian Corps Cyclist Battalion, an organization that performed reconnaissance duties for the Canadian Corps.

In the Second World War, it was quickly recognized that professional military intelligence practitioners would again be required.  As such, C Int C was officially formed on 29 October 1942.  Its work was vital to many of the Allies’ successes in the war and since then, C Int C members have been among battle casualties and provided their expertise in every conflict in which the Canadian Army has participated.

“This is an opportunity to reconnect with our historical identity, honour past achievements, and build an exciting future rooted in a proud military heritage,” said LCol Boutin.

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