Dear Friends of the Conference of Defence Associations, the CDA Institute and the broader Security and Defence Community,

Today is my last day as Chief Executive Officer of the Conference of Defence Associations and the CDA Institute. Allow me to reflect briefly on this amazing journey – after all, a short pen is better than a long memory – and to be thankful for so much to so many!

It is said that to stand still is to fall behind!  This is the motto I adopted when I was given the privilege to take up the baton of the CDA and its Institute from Alain Pellerin more than three and a half years ago.  At the same time, I quickly came to understand that it is not because things are challenging that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that things are challenging.  Well, together with a small, but amazingly dedicated team, we dared to take up the challenge.  And now the time has come for Matthew Overton and his team to take up yet another challenge and not stand still!  I sincerely hope to have passed on to him two organizations poised for greater contributions, with an exceptional team beside him.  Congratulations Matthew, you are definitely the right person to take up the baton and to move these two organizations forward!

Au cours des presque 4 années à la direction de la Conférence des associations de la défense et de son Institut, j’ai eu le privilège de travailler avec un groupe exceptionnel d’amis, de collègues et de collaborateurs dévoués, et ensemble nous nous sommes engagés à contribuer à la sécurité et à la défense du Canada et de nos concitoyens, tout en contribuant à un débat globale pour un monde plus sécuritaire.   En équipe, tous ensemble, nous  avons consacré nos énergies, nos expériences et nos capacités pour offrir aux Canadiens et aux Canadiennes des réflexions, des idées, des choix et des recommandations pour assurer notre sécurité et contribuer au bien-être de nos citoyens.

Having the responsibility to guide, mentor, supervise, encourage and contribute to the growth of subordinates and fellow workers is the highest calling in one’s life!  After almost 40 years in uniform doing much of that, I was honoured to have been given the privilege to lead the CDA and the CDA Institute and their national office team.  From my earlier days with Peter Forsberg, Arnav Manchanda, Gord Metcalfe, Meaghan Hobman, Rob Cook, and David Perry – together with a great group of student analysts – followed by David McDonough, Pierre Desautels, Robert Legere, Denise Lemay, Cybèle Wilson, Marie-Claire Ouellette, Bruce Poulin, Joe McNulty, Jennifer Giguere, Craig Mantle, Chris Cowan, Louise Côté, Sean McGrath, Bob Adams, and Matthew Overton – ably supported by many other volunteers, analysts, and bloggers, Fellows – and more student analysts – we can count on many achievements, too many to mention, accomplished together.  Thank you for being so dedicated and professional.  I shall forever remain grateful.

I am thankful for the personal guidance, insight, patience and support I received from many ‘Great Captains’ who have given so much of their time, wisdom, energy, and resources to the CDA and its Institute during my tenure – from Lieutenant-General Richard Evraire, Generals Ray Henault and Paul Manson, Dr. John Scott Cowan, The Honourable David Pratt, Ambassadors David Collins and Ferry de Kerckhove, Brigadier-General Don Macnamara, and Blake Goldring, to Vice-Admiral Denis Rouleau, Major-General Daniel Gosselin, Vice-Admiral Drew Robertson, Lieutenant-General Michel Gauthier, Louise Mercier and Dr Harry Kowal.  I also wish to thank past Chiefs of Defence Staff Generals Walt Natynczyk and Tom Lawson, past VCDS LGen Guy Thibault, and the current CDS, General Jonathan Vance and DM John Forster, and their staff (in particular Louise Desroches and BGen David Lowthian) for their support.  I am grateful for the tremendous support I received from the CDA Executive and the CDA Associations, the CDA Institute Board of Directors (both past and present), the CDA Institute Council of Advisors, and the CDA Institute Fellows (an amazing group starting with the two pioneers – Howard Coombs and Chuck Davies), to our Strategic Sponsors – Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, KPMG – and the 2017 Premier Sponsor of the Vimy Award Gala Dinner SNC Lavalin – to all our sponsors and donors, volunteers, contributors, cheerleaders and friends.

C’est maintenant le temps de céder ma place à Matthew Overton, but I shall remain a strong supporter of the CDA and its Institute.

Thank you very much, un grand merci à tous et chacune!

Tony Battista, Outgoing CEO.

* * * * *

Aujourd’hui, j’ai le grand plaisir et l’honneur de devenir le directeur exécutif de la Conférence des associations de la défense et de l’Institut de la Conférence des associations de la défense. I am appreciative of the confidence expressed in me by the Executive Council and Board of Directors of those two organisations as well as by the heads of our Associations.

As I accept this role, I must acknowledge the work and success of Colonel Tony Battista (Retired) in his almost four-year tenure as CEO for the premier voice for informed commentary and objective, fact-based research on security and defence in Canada. Sous sa direction, la CAD et l’Institut de la CAD ont développé le programme de Chargés de recherche, ont élargi la portée et la fréquence de nos contributions à la discussion sur la sécurité et la défense au Canada, notamment lors des consultations qui ont mené à la Politique de défense 2017 aux rapports concomitants du Sénat sur la défense nationale, ainsi que la sécurisation de nos commanditaires actuels qui nous permettent de bâtir pour l’avenir.

Since 1932 and 1987 respectively, the CDA and CDA Institute have been a country-wide network with a national office in Ottawa for the promotion of informed public debate on national security and defence issues and the vital role played by the Canadian Armed Forces in our society. Ils le font en contribuant à ces discussions, en encourageant et en soutenant les autres à participer, puis en reconnaissant l’excellence quand et où cela se produit. This ensures that there is an active, vibrant forum for broad, well-informed and substantive public discussion of issues important for the security and defence that contributes to the well-being of Canadians and Canada into the future.

Aujourd’hui, le Canada est confronté à un monde de défis de sécurité et de défense interconnectés et en évolution constante. Les nouveaux domaines de conflit tels que le cyber et l’espace s’ajoutent aux environnements traditionnels de la mer, de la terre et de l’air. An obviously shifting political landscape across the globe with new actors combined with old, unresolved conflicts strains the assumptions upon which Canadian security and defence have been based. La risque de la violence extrémiste. Déplacements démographiques et migrations humaines de masse. A changing nuclear and ballistic missile environment. The impact of significant environmental change around the globe – such as in our North or the Gulf of Mexico as well as many other areas.

Répondre aux défis qu’ils présentent nécessite une discussion également interconnectée et évolutive pour les affronter efficacement, avec la bonne combinaison de nos forces armées et d’autres éléments de la puissance nationale, utilisée d’une manière efficace, en concert avec des alliés et des partenaires anciens et nouveaux. The CDA and CDA Institute, enabled by the strong team at the National Office, will work to ensure that an authoritative body of knowledge and informed opinion is readily available, and used, as Canadians and Canadian leaders across our country debate and then make the difficult decisions necessary to maintain our security and defence at home and abroad while contributing to international peace and stability.

In doing so, I look forward to working with our CDA and CDA Institute teams as well as our many government, DND, CAF, academic and practitioner colleagues in Canada and around the world in the years to come.

Matthew Overton, Executive Director / Directeur exécutif
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