The Cold War dominated military planning for more than 40 years. Although it is difficult to place the beginning of the Cold War at a particular moment in time, it is easier to identify its end. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and was reduced to rubble by the following year. The Soviet hold on eastern Europe had broken.

By the early 1990s, Canada had withdrawn its forces from Europe and closed its bases. A decade later, Canada’s military was grappling with a world dominated by regional conflicts, fears of nuclear proliferation and terrorism.


Capt Don Philip, a Sea King pilot, deployed with HMCS Winnipeg to the Gulf of Oman in 2005 for Operation Altair.

In 1993, all Air Force bases were designated as wings.

Then, in 1997, the Air Force consolidated all of its air groups into a single command and control entity named 1 Canadian Air Division; all wings across Canada were placed under its operational control.

With its creation, the Commander of Air Command moved to National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario, and was given the additional title of Chief of the Air Staff, an office that had not been seen since the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968.

2 Canadian Air Division/Air Force Doctrine and Training Division was established 2009, responsible for Air Force doctrine, individual training and education. The Division also commands two wings as well as several schools and training establishments. 1 Canadian Air Division was re-focused on operations.

In 2013 there were 13 wings; 10 owned by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and acting as both wing and base organizations and three “lodger units”, located on bases owned by the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army or the Chief of Military Personnel.


Canada has been a leader in peacekeeping since the idea of a United Nations Peacekeeping Force for the Suez Canal region was proposed in 1956 by Lester Pearson, who was then the Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations.

The peacekeepers were there to allow the disengagement of British, French, Egyptian and Israeli forces. The RCAF created 114 Air Transport Unit (ATU) to fly Canadian and other United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) members from Italy to Egypt at the start of the mission, while 115 ATU operated in the Sinai providing support to UNEF.