NATO, Canada, and the Von Karman Committee


President John F. Kennedy Presents the National Medal of Science to Dr. Theodore von Kármán

In 1959, NATO officials requested a scientific study that would help inform them of the long-term goals of the then decade-old alliance and help them explore the potential strategies and military technologies of the distant future of 1970. To give the study a solid scientific foundation upon which it could stand, world-renowned Hungarian American physicist Theodore Von Karman was called upon to serve as its chairman and chief scientist. This study would become known as the NATO Long-Term Scientific Study, and it would become the primary mandate of the Von Karman committee.

Thus, an international group of scientists and military planners, which included Canadians such as Dr. G. S Field, was assembled to analyze and speculate on everything from the future of ground vehicles, logistics and reconnaissance to the human factors of modern warfare and the future battlefield of space. Beyond the study itself, this collection includes an array of declassified documents pertaining to all areas of the subject, such as confidential memorandums between NATO and Canadian defence officials, which help shed light on the early history of the NATO bureaucracy, and on how Canadian officials interacted with NATO during the early years of the Cold War.

The archival folder from which these records were drawn contains 58 documents. They are all available on Canada Declassified and begin with the identifier "CDSS".

NATO, Canada, and the Von Karman Committee