Vimy Papers are annual studies published on a regular basis by the CDA Institute; each one addresses a critical strategic Security & Defence issue for Canada and Canadians.
For media inquires, please contact Dr. Meghan Fitzpatrick, Director of Research & Senior Editor.
RHÉTORIQUE GÉOPOLITIQUE AU SERVICE DE LA POLITIQUE IDENTITAIRE: Le rôle du gouvernement, des médias et des forces armées dans le cas de l’arctique
The Strategic Outlook for Canada: Strategy and Mission After the Defence Policy Review
The Fourth Dimension: The F-35 Program, Defence Procurement, and the Conservative Government, 2006–2015
Fleet-Replacement and the ‘Build at Home’ Premium: Is it too expensive to build warships in Canada?
Vimy Paper 31 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 28 April 2016 – The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute) is pleased to release Vimy Paper 31: “Canada, NORAD, and Missile Defence: Prospects for Canadian Participation in BMD” by David McDonough.
The Canadian government recently launched its Defence Policy Review, expected to be completed by early 2017. The Department of National Defence also released a consultation paper that offered an overview of the issues facing the Canadian Armed Forces and key questions meant to guide public consultations as part of this review process. Of note, the document raised the previous government’s 2005 decision to refuse participation in the US ballistic missile defence (BMD) system, and asked whether it was time to revisit this decision “given changing technologies and threats?”
This Vimy Paper explores the debate about Canada’s possible participation in US missile defence plans, and assesses the advantages and possible disadvantages of such a commitment. The paper begins by examining the Canadian role in the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD), particularly the implications if NORAD fails to be directly involved in BMD. It then looks at the possibility of Canada receiving some protection in a BMD system, possible scenarios in which such protection would be required, and the likely contributions necessary if Canada wants to participate in missile defence and receive a modicum of protection. Lastly, the paper disentangles and assesses some of the key arguments used by critics against BMD.
By directly participating in BMD, Canada would reinforce the status of NORAD, strengthen the Canada-US defence relationship, and potentially ensure an important element of protection against ballistic missile threats. Canada will likely have to offer an “asymmetrical” or “in-kind contribution” if it hopes to receive protection afforded by the BMD system, so the question of cost needs to be further assessed. Lastly, criticism of BMD have often been either overstated or hampered by a degree of logical inconsistency or dissonance. As the Vimy Paper concludes, for these reasons, Canada should begin discussions with the United States on this issue – to better ascertain the costs Canada may be expected to shoulder for participation and ultimately to become an official participant in BMD.
Vimy Papers 28-30 – Graduate Student Symposium Edition (31 March 2016)
Papers From the 18th Annual Graduate Student Symposium: Canada’s Security and Defence Interests – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 31 March 2016 – The CDA Institute is pleased to release the top three papers from its 18th Annual Graduate Student Symposium as part of its Vimy Paper series. The three authors featured – all graduate students – worked with our research advisors and staff to develop their presentations into these quality publications:
Domestic Factors in the Iranian Nuclear Agreement: Canadian Engagement Strategies with Iran
Lauren Cardinal, Queen’s University
Innovation in Contact with the Enemy: Special Forces and Counterinsurgency in Iraq
Rebecca Jensen, University of Calgary
Bombs at Home or Fighters Abroad: Domestic Security Policy and its Impact on Migration of Foreign Fighters
Raphaël Leduc, University of Ottawa
Vimy Paper 27 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 16 February 2016 – The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute) is proud to announce the release today of Vimy Paper 27 – The Strategic Outlook for Canada 2016: In Search of a New Compass. This study is unique by providing a holistic strategic survey of the global strategic environment and an assessment on the future direction of Canada’s foreign, security and defence policy.
A must read for anyone interested in Canada’s evolving international role under a new government, The Strategic Outlook for Canada 2016 reflects on the security challenges facing Canada and explores its security and defence priorities. Over 25 academics, security and defence consultants and retired leaders from the Canadian Armed Forces were consulted as part of the process of putting together the Strategic Outlook for Canada 2016.
The study was authored by Ferry de Kerckhove, Executive Vice-President of the CDA Institute.
“The next year will be crucial for Canadian defence,” says Major-General Daniel Gosselin (Retired), President of the CDA Institute. “We will continue our focus on education and enlightening Canadians on security and defence issues while helping the government to give substance to its desire for Canada to provide constructive leadership in the world.”
The study and its findings will be presented at the opening session of the CDA and CDA Institute 2016 Ottawa Conference on Security and Defence held on 18–19 February at the Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel. The Ottawa Conference is the largest publicly held security and defence conference of its kind in Canada. The Honourable Harjit Sajjan, Minister of National Defence, the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and the Chief of the Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance will join other distinguished speakers from across Canada and abroad to discuss national and international security and defence issues.
Vimy Paper 26 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 11 December 2015. The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute) is pleased to release Vimy Paper 26: Competition in Defence Procurement: The Popular Choice, but not Always the Right One.
There is a deeply ingrained belief in many quarters that virtually all government defence procurement should be done through competitive tendering. There is no deep analysis supporting this belief, little objective research underpinning it, and not much consideration of the possibility that case-specific factors might in some instances lead logically to a different conclusion. This Vimy Paper seeks to encourage a more objective discussion about when the government should meet its requirements through open competitive tendering, and when more restrictive procurement strategies, including sole-sourcing, will provide the best outcome.
The paper begins with an overview of how military requirements are defined and then considers the broader context within which they will be met, including the nature of defence procurement and the legal parameters governing it. The analysis then reviews a number of circumstances where one or other of the four main legal exemptions in the Government Contracts Regulations could allow the non-competitive sourcing of certain defence requirements. Having concluded that there are some circumstances when sole-sourcing may be appropriate, the paper briefly examines the very powerful tools provided by the Defence Production Act that can be used to ensure that the government gets best price or best value from the contract.
Conventional wisdom sees competitive procurement as the gold standard to be met in government procurement. Therefore, the government is reluctant to use less competitive strategies even when this would save money. The result is that the Department of National Defence may sometimes pay more than it could have, yielding an equivalent net reduction in the defence capabilities the nation can afford to maintain within a limited budget envelope. In order to avoid this, the paper calls for a better informed and more thoughtful public discussion about defence procurement strategies, and a recognition that there will be times when objective analysis will show that a more selective method, including sometimes sole-sourcing, will provide the best outcome for the nation.
Vimy Papers 23-25 – Graduate Student Symposium Edition (6 February 2015)
Papers From the 17th Annual Graduate Student Symposium: Canada’s Security and Defence Interests – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 6 February 2015 – The CDA Institute is pleased to release the top three papers from its 17th Annual Graduate Student Symposium as part of its Vimy Paper series. The three authors featured – all graduate students – worked with our research advisors and staff to develop their presentations into these quality publications:
Anti-Money Laundering & Countering the Financing of Terroism: Conundrum for Domestic and International Communities
Tannuva Akbar, University of Toronto
The Canadian Response to Radicalization to Violence
Dashiell Dronyk, Carleton University
Canada’s Quest for New Submarines
Rob Burroughs, University of Ottawa
The Strategic Outlook for Canada – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 17 February 2015 – The CDA Institute today released Vimy Paper 22 – The 2015 Edition of its Strategic Outlook for Canada. Among its key recommendations, the study calls on the Government of Canada to articulate a full and integrated national security vision and framework encompassing foreign, trade, development and defence policies.
In its review the Strategic Outlook found:
- A return of previously latent geo-strategic rivalries, most notably following Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and China’s belligerent posturing in the South China Sea.
- The emergence of a new high-tech/low-tech barbaric threat in the form of ISIS, which sparked a US-led intervention in the Middle East while reigniting global counter-terrorism concerns.
- The international community’s inability to deal with these challenges arises from a multitude of worrisome trends: from lack of global leadership to institutional crises afflicting the UN and NATO to the competing geo-strategic imperatives and indeed values of different actors.
- The Government of Canada’s response to these international crises has so far been ad-hoc and often guided by domestic interests. Following the 2015 elections, the new Government should undertake a full foreign, trade, development and defence review in order to present a unified vision of Canada’s place in the world.
- A key element of this process needs to be a coherent defence policy, specifically an end to the underinvestment and procurement process challenges that have plagued the Canadian Armed Forces.
- Particular attention needs to be paid to the capital portion of the defence budget. If left unchanged, Canada will suffer a “bow wave” of delayed procurement in which both RCAF and RCN fleets will need to be replaced en masse around 2025.
“This Strategic Outlook provides an assessment of Canada’s role and capabilities in these changing times,” says General Ray Henault (Ret’d), president of the CDA Institute, in the Foreword to the study. “All this leads to the fundamental need for a renewal of the Canadian security and defence framework … and a firm commitment by Government to provide the resources required to equip and prepare all instruments of national security.”
The study was authored by Ferry de Kerckhove.
Vimy Paper 21 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 14 January 2015 – The Conference of Defence Associations Institute is pleased to release Vimy Paper 21, in cooperation with The Macdonald-Laurier Institute: Putting the ‘Armed’ Back Into the Canadian Armed Forces: Improving Defence Procurement in Canada by David Perry, Senior Security and Defence Analyst with the CDA Institute.
In February 2014, the Government of Canada announced a Defence Procurement Strategy (DPS) designed to reform the way Canada acquires military equipment. The Canadian system has been uniquely problematic in the past and is likely to remain so, with the length of time to acquire military equipment now at “record levels”. Although the DPS is a commendable initiative, it will not fix the current problems on its own.
The report’s author, David Perry finds that DND faces an unprecedented difficulty in spending the money allotted for acquisitions; projects are cut down or cancelled due to delays and lost purchasing power; and current capacity and resources cannot meet increasing demands. Overall, a large disconnect exists between desired capabilities and the government’s financial commitment. “Our acquisition system simply isn’t robust enough to succeed. Until a new defence policy is articulated, purchases prioritized, and adequate resources applied, the military will keep losing capability”.
In an effort to highlight and address these vital issues, the CDA Institute, Canada’s prominent voice on security and defence issues, and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, a leading federal policy research centre, have issued this new report that analyses the country’s broken procurement system and makes recommendations for reaching the goal of getting the right equipment in the hands of our fighting forces at the right time. An opportunity exists right now, to build on the strengths of the DPS and restore trust in the system. If these problems are not addressed, the reforms will fall short of expectations.
Highlights from Mr. Perry’s paper
- Since 2007/2008, an average of 23 percent of the available Vote 5 money supplied by Parliament, a combined $7.2 billion, was not spent as intended.
- Budget cuts starting in 1989 led to a decade of limited defence acquisitions. As a result, there is too little experience and training and insufficient staff in the acquisition workforce.
- The Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS) promised the largest recapitalization program since the Korean War, but this recapitalization is severely delayed, eroding the buying power of DND’s capital program.
- The CFDS is “neither affordable nor viable in today’s fiscal reality”, and lack of strategic priorities has made resolving the gap between funding and capabilities more difficult.
- DND’s program exceeds the financial and human resources to implement it; resolving the mismatch between funding and capabilities must be the key focus of the renewed CFDS.
- “All trust and faith between players in the system has been lost;” restoring trust in the procurement system will require a track record of success.
About the author
David Perry is the Senior Security and Defence Analyst of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, and a doctoral candidate in political science at Carleton University where he studies defence privatization. Dave is a frequent media commentator on national defence and security issues and has testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence.
Related works from the CDA Institute
- Charles Davies: Canada’s Defence Procurement Strategy: An End or a Beginning? (September 2014)
- David Perry: The Growing Gap Between Defence Ends and Means: The disconnect between the Canada First Defence Strategy and the Current Defence Budget (June 2014)
- David Perry: Defence Austerity: The Impact to Date (March 2013)
About the Macdonald-Laurier Institute
The Macdonald-Laurier Institute is the only non-partisan, independent national public policy think tank in Ottawa focusing on the full range of issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
Vimy Paper 20 (17 September 2014)
Vimy Paper 20 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 17 September 2014 – The Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute) is pleased to release Vimy Paper 20: Canada’s Defence Procurement Strategy: An End or a Beginning? by Charles Davies.
Canada’s new Defence Procurement Strategy was announced on February 5, 2014. It represents the first serious attempt by any Canadian government since the disbandment of the Department of Defence Production in 1969 to take a more systematic approach to defence acquisitions. How successful the strategy will be in delivering its intended outcomes will not become evident for some time. This paper offers an analysis of the ten announced components of the strategy and draws a number of conclusions about their likely effects.
The Defence Procurement Strategy contains one important foundational flaw: it is based on the premise that defence procurement is a discrete activity, which it is not. The strategy has three structural gaps: the absence of any evident intent to establish a government-level performance management framework for defence procurement; the lack of effective mechanisms for bringing government and industry together at the practical level; and, the lack of an overarching defence industrial strategy that would guide more consistent and coherent long-term targeting of industrial and security outcomes from defence procurements.
The paper concludes that the Defence Procurement Strategy has at least as many gaps and weaknesses as it does strengths, and many of its prospective strengths will have to be proven over time. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see, for the first time in decades, a Canadian government making a serious attempt to reform this area of its business. While the strategy does not establish a viable end-state for defence procurement, neither should it be seen as a failed policy.
Highlights from Mr. Davies’ paper
- Defence procurement is part of a complex, integrated business framework designed for: managing the development, acquisition, life-cycle management, support and eventual disposal of military equipment; the generation of integrated force packages; and, the conduct of military operations.
- Determining defence capability requirements is a complex activity that requires the careful balancing of many factors, not least of which is affordability. If well implemented, the new challenge function within DND has the potential to be useful in demonstrating to Canadians that the development of military requirements is being done objectively and under independent scrutiny.
- The foundational flaw of the current strategy may increase the risk of systemic failure in the fielding and sustainment of military capabilities as well as the support of future operations.
- A central theme of the strategy is an intent to engage more closely with Canadian industry in major defence acquisitions. However, this shift is relatively limited, focused on near- and mid-term economic results, and is not situated within a larger defence industrial strategy.
- The strategy’s new regime to streamline and coordinate government decision-making for major procurements – consisting of a new working group of ministers supported by deputy ministers and ADMs – is almost exclusively dependent on personal commitments and interpersonal dynamics more than anything else, and mirrors the status quo.
- Early and meaningful industry engagement is an aspiration that is much easier to articulate than achieve. It remains to be seen just how far the government is prepared to go to replace the arms-length approach of the past. Past attempts by DND to articulate future procurement plans have been justifiably viewed as “wish lists”, and the recently released Defence Acquisition Guide is similarly cautious in avoiding any implied commitments.
- While each of the strategy’s measures may individually have varying degrees of merit, their potential aggregate net benefit to the nation will be constrained by the lack of a wider integrating defence industrial strategy. However, the 2014 Defence Procurement Strategy may ultimately prove to have been an important, if tentative, first step forward.
About the author
Colonel (retired) Charles Davies is a former Logistics officer who served for four years as the strategic planning director for the Materiel Group of DND and three years as the senior director responsible for materiel acquisition and support policy in the department. He also formerly chaired the NATO Life Cycle Management Group, which is responsible for strengthening standardization and interoperability in equipment system life cycle management among the Alliance, member nations and partners. He retired in 2013 following a 42-year military and Public Service career.
Related works from the CDA Institute
- Charles Davies: Defence Transformation and Renewal: Teeth, Tails and Other Myths (May 2014)
- David Perry: The Growing Gap Between Defence Ends and Means: The disconnect between the Canada First Defence Strategy and the Current Defence Budget (June 2014)
- David Perry: Doing Less with Less: Canadian Defence Transformation and Renewal (January 2014)
Vimy Paper 20 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 11 June 2014 – The Conference of Defence Associations Institute is pleased to release Vimy Paper 19: The Growing Gap Between Defence Ends and Means: The Disconnect between the Canada First Defence Strategy and the Current Defence Budget by David Perry, Senior Security and Defence Analyst of the CDA Institute.
But this has come at the cost of reducing and/or constraining the military options available to the government, both today and tomorrow. The funding for training, routine operations and maintenance has been cut, significantly reducing operational readiness. At the same time, a sizeable proportion of the funding earmarked to acquire the military of the future is going unused. This means the re-capitalization plans for the Canadian military will need major modifications to reflect a significant loss of purchasing power.
Highlights from Mr. Perry’s paper:
- Adjusting for inflation, the defence budget is now smaller than it was in 2007.
- The CFDS plan to spend $490 billion over 20 years has been reduced to $453 billion.
- Not implementing the CFDS plan as intended has made a significant contribution to erasing Canada’s deficit – DND provided one-quarter of the reduction in federal government spending in Budget 2014.
- In real terms, capital spending for major new equipment has declined four years in a row, and remains on a downward trend. DND has not spent 25% of the amount allocated to replacing major equipment for four straight years. As a share of the defence budget, capital spending has dropped to the lowest level since 1977/1978.
- The two-year operating budget freeze is putting substantial pressure on Operations & Maintenance funding and has reduced the National Procurement budget.
- The government is re-profiling billions for major capital procurements for use after 2016/2017.
- Lack of Treasury Board approval for DND’s investment plans has resulted in a failure to spend allocated funds over the last 12 months, and the cancellation and delay of capital equipment projects. This situation is unlikely to change until DND’s Investment Plan is approved by Treasury Board.
- The Canadian Armed Forces’ operational readiness is dropping, its purchasing power is being eroded, and future military capability is being reduced.
About the author: David Perry is the Senior Security and Defence Analyst of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, and a doctoral candidate in political science at Carleton University where he studies defence privatization. Dave is a frequent media commentator on national defence and security issues and has testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence.
Vimy Paper 18 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 21 May 2014 – The CDA Institute is pleased to release Vimy Paper 18: Defence Transformation and Renewal: Teeth, Tails and Other Myths by Charles Davies.
For the Canadian Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces, the necessity to ‘trim fat’ is ever-present, but has taken on a new level of urgency with added fiscal constraints and the real possibility of having to continue doing more with less. In his paper, Charles Davies argues that much of the current discussion regarding cost saving measures is distorted by oversimplification of what are actually complex issues in the most complex organization in government. His paper aims to dispel some of the myths of what has traditionally been known as the ‘tooth-tail debate’, a concept which if not properly understood often trivializes and obscures an informed debate on these issues.
Mr. Davies’ paper addresses the following points:
- The hard realities that flow from the dual nature of National Defence as both a 21st century military organization and an integral component of a wider Government of Canada business environment.
- The necessity to maintain reasonable expectations about achievable outcomes and the speed of current renewal initiatives at National Defence.
- The importance of differentiating between what transformation is achievable internally within National Defence and what would require significant business renewal at the level of the Government of Canada.
About the author: Colonel Charles Davies (Ret’d) is a former CF Logistics officer who has held a number of military and civilian senior appointments in the Canadian Army and DND’s Materiel Group. His executive-level responsibilities have included, among others, land force structure, strategic and business planning for the Materiel Group, and defence materiel acquisition and support policy. He retired in 2013 following a 42-year military and Public Service career.
Related works from the CDA Institute:
- David Perry: Doing Less with Less: Canadian Defence Transformation and Renewal (January 2014)
- David Perry: Defence Austerity: The Impact to Date (March 2013)
Papers From the 16th Annual Graduate Student Symposium
Canadian Security Interests: Looking Beyond – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 7 May 2014 – The CDA Institute is pleased to release the top three papers from its 16th Annual Graduate Student Symposium as part of its Vimy Paper series. The three authors featured – all graduate students – worked with our research advisors and staff to develop their presentations into these quality publications:
Bipolarity in the Middle East: The Regional Implications of a Nuclear Iran
Eric Thomson, University of Ottawa
Why No Nuclear Domino? The Case of North Korea and its Neighbours
Alexandre Léger, Concordia University
Great Power Transitions and Canada’s Security Interests in the Asia-Pacific Region
Shakir Chambers, Carleton University
The 16th Annual Graduate Student Symposium was held 24-25 October 2013 at the Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC) in Kingston, Ontario. The CDA Institute would like to thank RMCC, Bombardier of Montreal, the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute of Calgary, and the Royal Canadian Military Institute of Toronto for their support of the event.
The Symposium draws together Canadian and international graduate students, members of the Department of National Defence, members of the Regular and Reserve components of the Canadian Armed Forces including Officer Cadets, as well as scholars, defence industry stakeholders, government officials and leaders for two days of presentations, discussions, professional development and networking. Over the years the Symposium has become the cornerstone of the CDA Institute’s commitment to developing the next generation of security and defence leaders.
The next iteration, the 17thAnnual Graduate Student Symposium, on the theme “Canada’s Security and Defence Interests,” will take place on 16-17 October 2014 at the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, Ontario. The Call for Papers is currently open, with a first-round deadline for submission of 12 May, and a final submission deadline of 15 September.
Strategic Outlook for Canada: A Search for Leadership – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 18 February 2014 – The CDA Institute today released the 2014 edition of its Strategic Outlook for Canada, which makes 17 recommendations to the Government of Canada calling for a cohesive national vision for defence, security and foreign policy.
In its review, the Strategic Outlook found:
- A general disengagement by leaders in the west from the difficult international issues of our time, demonstrating a reluctance to go beyond rhetoric towards discernable action.
- This reflects the weariness of electorates, and a desire to concentrate on local issues; a quasi-isolationist trend is emerging amongst key nations.
- Military power has limitations in trying to impose solutions. Libya post-Gadhafi has become an ungoverned space; Al Qaeda has been prevented from taking over Mali but they are still there; Iraq is the greatest hotbed of terrorism on earth; and Syria is a war zone with no end in sight.
- Domestically, fiscal pressures are leading to cuts to defence, based more on the balance sheet than on what a nation wishes to do in the world. For Canada, cuts to capability, delay or elimination of procurements, or reduction in readiness are imposed without the benefit of a foreign policy and defence review to articulate our national interests. This is deeply troubling.
- Finally, Canadians should be asking questions on how defence is managed. Procurement remains a disaster; transformation has been talked about but nothing has been done about it.
Absent an articulated vision of its role in the world and the provision of the right means to achieve it, Canada risks doing little and mattering even less in world affairs. Without a firmer financial footing, the Canadian Armed Forces risk becoming limited to continental defence with deeply reduced expeditionary capability.”The Strategic Outlook draws from expertise across the policy, military, business, and academic worlds and recognizes the shifting international and domestic imperatives that should be driving our policies and actions,” noted General (Ret’d) Ray Henault, president of the CDA Institute.
The study was co-authored by Ferry de Kerckhove and George Petrolekas. Ferry de Kerckhove is executive vice president of the CDA Institute. George Petrolekas is a member of the CDA Institute board of directors.
Doing Less With Less: Canadian Defence Transformation and Renewal – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 30 January 2014 – The CDA Institute today released “Doing Less with Less: Canadian Defence Transformation and Renewal,” the latest in its Vimy Paper series of studies on vital defence and security issues.
The report finds that little progress has been made in terms of increasing efficiency and effectiveness in the management of National Defence. The impact of Canada’s Economic Action Plan, two operating budget freezes, the 2010 Strategic Review and the Deficit Reduction Action Program have reduced military readiness, resulted in the elimination of some army capabilities, and reduced Canada’s participation in NATO. And, based on historical experience, it concludes that the Defence Renewal initiative announced last year is absent several conditions for its successful implementation.
“Defence transformation requires a sustained, concerted effort across all branches of the Canadian defence establishment, and cooperation and collaboration between the military, civilian, and political arms of government,” said General (Ret’d) Ray Henault, president of the CDA Institute, former Chief of the Defence Staff, and former chairman of the military committee of NATO. “That said, the foundation for successful defence reform is an affordable defence strategy. Those who have the challenging task of bringing forward substantive proposals for real change must be given space to manoeuvre, with as few constraints as possible.”
The paper concludes that successful transformation is based on a combination of factors, including: a clear articulation of national intent and expectations as set out in a defence strategy; the primary need to effectively conduct operations; buy-in and guidance from the military, civilian and political leadership; and an environment that provides the latitude to bring forward all options for consideration, without undue limit or constraint on force planners.
A renewed Canada First Defence Strategy must prioritize the capabilities required to meet the government of Canada’s requirements. Informed decisions will be needed to rebalance among personnel, equipment, infrastructure and readiness spending and potentially among Canada’s land, aerospace, maritime and special operations forces.
The report is authored by David Perry, Senior Defence Analyst with the CDA Institute, and a doctoral candidate in political science at Carleton University where he studies defence privatization. Dave is a frequent media commentator on national defence and security issues and has testified before the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence.
Ottawa, 12 September 2013 – The CDA Institute today released its publication from the Annual Graduate Student Symposium, Canadian Security Interests: Looking Beyond.
The three students that are highlighted in the publication worked with our research advisors and staff to develop their presentations into these fine analyses.
The core mandate of the CDA Institute is to promote informed public debate on issues of defence and security.
As we continue to tackle a wide array of topics and challenges, we return to these same issues: what are our security interests, and how do we conceptualize a strategic vision to meet these interests?
We hope these papers go some way in advancing discourse and thinking on these topics.
“Over the years, the Symposium has become the cornerstone of the CDA Institute’s commitment to the next generation of defence and security leaders, and I am very pleased to endorse this first publication resulting from the event.” – General (Ret’d) Ray Henault, President CDA Institute
Bill McAuley’s “Canada’s Tactical Fixation? Rethinking the IED Phenomenon” presents and defends one haunting assertion: that for much of Canada’s combat mission in Kandahar, the counter-IED battle left no room for strategic considerations. In his words, “Canadians spent more than half of their Kandahar deployment fighting for their own lives because too few resources were committed over too large an area.”
Meaghan Williams’ “Hell on Heels: the Intersection of Women, Terror & Insurgency” studies the strategic role women play as suicide bombers. Making important differentiations between insurgent groups and terror networks, she begins by questioning why women have been allowed by these groups to partake in conflict, which is generally a male-dominated area.
Geoff Keelan’s “Information War: The Historical Precedents of Cyber Operations” takes the catchwords of today – cyber security and cyber war – and places them in the context of the centuries’ old ‘information war.’ He compares information warfare in the cyber domain (with its vulnerabilities to penetration) to the historical use of cartography (where theft and disruption of maps had significant security impacts).
In the best tradition of graduate work, the papers in this collection ask us to question our assumptions, and give us fresh perspectives that allow us to address the many dichotomies that govern security studies.
Towards an International Model for Canadian Defence Procurement? An F-35 Case Study – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 8 March 2013 – In a study released today by the CDA Institute, Towards an International Model for Canadian Defence Procurement? An F-35 Case Study, defence analyst Richard Shimooka explains and assesses international trends affecting Canada’s procurement process. Since the Canada First Defence Strategy first articulated the Government of Canada’s intention to reequip the Canadian Forces in 2008, a wide variety of procurement models have been tried. From domestic innovations, to purchasing off-the-shelf, to undertaking international partnerships, there are examples of all of these in Canada’s recent procurements.
Despite the political and logistical challenges associated with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, international partnerships as a model for procurement present the most effective way to meet three overarching procurement goals:
- Meeting operational requirements;
- Getting good value for taxpayer dollars; and,
- Strengthening domestic industry.
International partnerships, when conducted effectively, also present an effective means to avoid three basic problems are that common to all procurements:
- Cost overruns;
- Delays; and,
- Suboptimal performance.
The case study of the F-35 and its comparisons to the civilian aerospace industry allow us to examine these common challenges associated with military procurement. The case study also allows us to analyze current trends including the exponential increase in technological integration into platforms, the globalization of supply chains, diminishing production scales, and reductions in defence budgets. Ultimately, these trends will guide the international community to a greater number of cooperative procurements, while the Government of Canada should reform its procurement practices to better incorporate these international partnerships in procurement.
Vimy Paper 6 – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 20 February 2013 – The CDA Institute today released its major annual study examining the international strategic landscape and how Canada will meet challenges in security & defence, as well as the defence and security dimension of its foreign affairs.
The 2013 Strategic Outlook for Canada makes 28 recommendations to the Government of Canada to change how it plans for the future security environment and for the continued reform of security & defence thinking. Co-authors George Petrolekas and Ferry de Kerckhove also provide a Report Card for how the Government did in accepting the 2012 Strategic Outlook’s recommendations.
The paper conducts comprehensive assessments covering a wide array of topics. These include the difficulties and long-term risks of not implementing meaningful transformation in the Canadian Forces which risks creating a “hollow” force, as well as the weaknesses in Canadian national infrastructure and how it must be hardened against cyberattack.
Beyond these immediate issues, four substantive trends and issues are identified:
- A deepening divide between aspirations of the governed and their governments. This is most evident in the social upheavals of the Middle East which have transformed an Arab Spring in 2011 into an Islamist Winter in 2012;
- The fiscal condition of many states, the decline of western economic performance and subsequent confidence, is forcing a primacy of focus on domestic policies but economic interest has emerged as the key factor in what drives foreign policy considerations. Pragmatism, based on economic considerations, over principle has emerged as an identifiable trend and will guide decisions well into 2013;
- The Government has not articulated a comprehensive vision or outlook for Canada, as would be expected in a defence and foreign policy review, which would provide the clarity needed by both the defence and foreign affairs communities in future planning – the need for which is more pronounced in times of fiscal restraint; and,
- Of the 5 conflict scenarios in 2013 this paper identifies, many—from Gaza to the South China Sea—have the potential to erupt moreso as a function of accident than by design.
Vimy Paper 6 – Media Coverage
Small Wars Journal Editors – 2013 Strategic Outlook fo Canada – SWJ Blog, Small Wars Journal, 25 February 2013
Colin Robertson – NATO’s toughest battle is the discussion about its future – The Globe and Mail, 20 February 2013
Daniel Proussalidis – Canada Should Prepare For More Worldwide Turmoil, Report Warns – Sun News Network, 20 February 2013
Canada and the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 21 December 2012 – In a study released today by the CDA Institute, co-authors Meghan Spilka O’Keefe and George Petrolekas explain and assess our ongoing involvement with the NATO training mission in Afghanistan in the context of Canadian national interests.
The study concludes that over the next 18 months two successes must be achieved in order to optimize Canadian national interests: (i) a quantifiable improvement in Afghan security must be demonstrated through the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan (NTM-A); and, (ii) that a sustainable post-2014 structure be put in place. However, to obtain Canadian support for any post-2014 initiatives or involvement, the government will need to better communicate those interests to Canadians.
In spite of the many achievements of the mission, the main indicator of mission success of NTM-A cannot be measured simply by the output of its schools or the quantitative strength that has been achieved. Persistent corruption within the Afghan government presents a significant barrier towards establishing quantifiable increases in Afghan security as well as severe impediments on the ability to strategically communicate any successes of the mission.
A number of key recommendations are placed to government:
- Canadians require broader exposure to the role being played by the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan and the linkage between success of training mission and Canadian interests in the wider region;
- Funding should continue past 2014 – without continued financial assistance any gains made in Canada’s decade long investment risks being lost;
- Post-2014 funding should be contingent upon quantifiable improvements in financial management, corruption, security, and rule of law; and,
- A modest training and mentoring capability should remain post-2014 similar to minor training assistance and mentoring missions presently conducted by the CF elsewhere in the world.
Meghan Spilka O’Keefe worked as a Defence Analyst with the CDA Institute for two years and is now a senior consultant in procurement with Hill and Knowlton Strategies. George Petrolekas is a member of the Board of Directors of the CDA Institute, and former advisor to two chiefs of defence staff.
The Next Generation Fighter Capability Annual Update as Reviewed by KPMG – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 12 December 2012 – In a short commentary produced by the CDA Institute, co-authors George Petrolekas and David Perry present a comparative analysis between the range of costing figures for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. They investigate the figures presented by the Department of National Defence, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, the Auditor General, and most recently the Next Generation Fighter Capability Annual Update reviewed by KPMG.
They provide an overview to five key questions that have been facing Canadians since the outset of the program:
- Had the Government committed to acquiring the F-35?
- Did DND conduct a fair options analysis of fighter aircraft to inform decision-makers?
- Was the Government certain as to the acquisition cost of the airplane – including costs per aircraft?
- What was the life-cycle of the aircraft?
- Were operating and support costs correct?
Canadian Whole of Government Operations – Backgrounder
Ottawa, 6 December 2012 – In a study released today, Canada’s leading think tank on defence and security, the Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute) analyzes the Government of Canada’s “Whole of Government” approach to the country’s engagement in Afghanistan, with a specific focus on the final year of Canada’s engagement in Kandahar.
Authored by Dr. Howard Coombs, the study, entitled Canadian Whole of Government Operations: Kandahar 09/2010 – 07/2011, focuses on both successes and challenges of the Canadian-led Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team as well as the Canadian Forces-led Task Force Kandahar in that time period.
The paper advocates that Canada must capture and consolidate the knowledge acquired through our mission in Afghanistan in order to preserve the whole-of-government capability that will likely be used in the years to come in other international engagements, which will not be traditional peacekeeping but will require combining the skills of civilians and the military in complex environments.
The study draws together 4 key lessons:
- the need for expertise across domains that are integrated prior to deployment;
- the strength of civil-military & bi-national teams;
- the need for agencies to better communicate with the media; and,
- the greater need to involve justice sector reform.
Dr. Howard Coombs is a former civilian advisor to the Commander, Joint Task Force Kandahar 2010-2011, in addition to being an Assistant Professor at the Royal Military College of Canada and a reservist officer who commands 33 Canadian Brigade Group, Ottawa.
Vimy Paper 5 – Backgrounder
21 February 2012, Ottawa – A major study released today by Canada’s leading defence, foreign affairs and security institute calls for a major re-examination of the national security policy and strategy that guides and shapes the size, structure and capabilities of the Canadian Forces and the work of the Department of National Defence. The report, which makes 16 recommendations for the reform of defence thinking and defence planning, comes two days ahead of the sold-out 2012 Ottawa Conference on Defence and Security, and weeks ahead of a federal budget widely expected to target Defence for major reductions.
“For too long there has been too little public discussion of the emerging international security environment and of Canada’s defence and security needs in the years ahead,” said Alain Pellerin, the executive director of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA Institute). “We face considerable financial restraint at home and even more pronounced fiscal problems with our closest allies who in many respects have harder choices to make than we do about government spending priorities.”
“Add to that mix the current battles afoot regarding yet another round of CF transformation, and you have a perfect defence policy storm,” said Pellerin. “Our paper looks both to start the discussion, and to inform it.”
The report, “The Strategic Outlook for Canada,” is the fifth in the CDA Institute’s Vimy Paper series – an annual study that addresses a critical defence and security issue for Canada and Canadians. Previous papers examined the procurement model, defence requirements for Canada’s Arctic, Asia-Pacific security, and energy dependency.
“We’re living in a different world than the one which produced most of our thinking about how to preserve international peace and security,” said Paul Chapin, a former senior Foreign Affairs official and one of the principal co-authors of the study. “It’s time for a comprehensive review of the strategic landscape, what the dangers are out there for Canadians, and what to do about them.”
“Our intent is to tie the strategic landscape to the need for a made-at-home national security strategy that matches what we see going on in the world,” said George Petrolekas, the study’s other principal co-author. “Less is probably the reality for the near future; and, it provides the opportunity to transform in some fashion. There’s an immutable law of economics at play, and with less monies in the budget, something – in personnel, or capital projects, or capacity will have to give. There will inevitably be trade-offs – but hopefully trade-offs based on a strategy that is purpose-built for our current and future Canadian security requirements.”
The Vimy Paper is also informed by a veritable Canadian “who’s who” of the defence and security community, including two former Chiefs of the Defence Staff, a former Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee, retired Ambassadors, a Senator, eminent historians and academics, as well as NATO field commanders, strategists and experienced military staff officers. Among the major recommendations of the report:
- Canada’s national interests are at stake when ruthless regimes are striving to get their hands on nuclear weapons; when allies and trading partners cannot rein in their sovereign debt; and when radicals employ subterfuge, coercion and violence to advance ideologies contrary to the most fundamental beliefs of Canadians. In the fact of these challenges, spending cuts to Canada’s foreign policy operations and national defence programs are likely – without a discussion of the options that present themselves. The CDAI therefore calls on the Government to follow up on its initiative of establishing a National Security Committee of Cabinet, and commission the preparation of a comprehensive National Security Strategy for Canada;
- The Government has made a very serious effort to address the many long-standing equipment deficiencies of the Canadian Forces. But cumulative years of turning back money at the end of the fiscal year have led to the perception that the Department of National Defence is flush with cash – when the reality is that financial and other accountability systems and a lack of project management staff have not kept pace with recent budget increases. Forthcoming cuts, CF transformation and major new equipment purchases make for a situation that calls for policy clarity. The CDA Institute therefore calls on the Government to update the Canada First Defence Strategy, articulate the first principles to guide the work, critically evaluate the Defence Investment Plan, and permit reprofiling of lapsed capital funds to future years when the available funding will align more practically to actual project spending projections;
- Canada is uniquely positioned to influence the direction of US thinking on international issues and to discuss future contingencies with allies. The CDAI therefore recommends that the Government redouble its efforts to ensure Canadian advice on international security issues carries the weight it deserves and that Canada begin discussions with allies on developing an international security architecture designed to meet 21st century needs;
- In 2012 and the years immediately following, Canada is very likely to be faced with a host of decisions related to the crises in the Middle East, in the Arabian Gulf, and on the Korean peninsula. The CDA Institute therefore calls on the Government to develop contingency plans for possible Canadian involvement in resolving these crises, to become more diplomatically engaged, and build up the regional expertise of the Canadian Forces and the Foreign Service;
- Canada has made an extraordinary contribution to the peace and stability of Afghanistan, and is committed to staying the course there until the end of 2014 in the all-important role of training Afghans to assume responsibility for the defence of their country. But there is a possibility that NATO partners will start leaving Afghanistan before the job is finished. The CDA Institute therefore urges the Government to argue forcefully at the NATO Summit in Chicago in mid-May that allies abide by the strategy they agreed on at their summit in Lisbon in November 2010.
- The rise of narco-traffickers and trans-national criminal organizations in the Americas constitutes a direct and growing threat to this country. The CDA Institute therefore calls on the Government to match their expressed interest in the Americas region with the development of a defence and security engagement plan to ensure greater unity of purpose and effort between departments and agencies.
- Following the Prime Minister’s visit to China, the time is right for a comprehensive review of Canada’s strategic interests in Asia-Pacific, including exploring with allies the parameters of a new collective security arrangement in the region, and an exploration of the balance of CF commitments between East and West; and
- Political stability and the continued advancement of democracy in Africa are in Canada’s interests. The CDA Institute therefore calls on the Government to consider increasing Canadian military and police capacity-building programs in Africa, and to assist the African Union to become a more effective regional security organization.
Vimy Paper 5 – Media Coverage
Thomas Ricks – A Canadian strategic assessment of the American mood: cranky and disengaged – Best Defense blog, Foreign Policy, 23 February 2012
Brian Stewart – A national security strategy for dangerous times – CBC News, 22 February 2012
Media Release – 21 February 2012
Paul Chapin and George Petrolekas – Canada needs a National Security Strategy – iPolitics, 21 February 2012
Jack Granatstein – Canada needs a security strategy – Ottawa Citizen, 21 February 2012
Dave Dilegge – The Strategic Outlook for Canada – Small Wars Journal, 21 February 2012
John Scott Cowan – Canada’s world view 2012: new challenges, tight budgets, but well-positioned – The Hill Times, 20 February 2012 (subscriber-only)
Special study (March 2010)
Security in an Uncertain World:
A Canadian Perspective on NATO’s New Strategic Concept
Vimy Paper 4 – Backgrounder
In Vimy Paper 4: “The Strategic Impact of Energy Dependency,” the contributors to the piece, from their own disparate vantage points, examine key aspects of the strategic impact of energy dependency. The paper is not intended to be a prescriptive policy document; the piece likely raises more questions than answers. Some key issues that are examined in the document include: the world’s continued increase in demand for energy, The Canadian Forces’ dependence on oil, NATO’s role in energy security, India’s increasing dependence on foreign energy supplies and Canada’s likely need to look to its North in order to better ensure its future energy security. While Vimy Paper 4 explores various and diverse aspects of energy dependency, the central point of the piece is that energy scarcity and insecurity can lead to conflict.
Vimy Paper 3 – Backgrounder
This is a piece that examines the security challenges that Canada will face amid the remarkable and brisk changes that are taking place in the Asia-Pacific region. As described in the piece, the most notable of the changes which are occurring in the region are: rapid economic development, an increase in demand for energy and new alliances which are being formed which could change the global power balance. To properly assess the strategic environment of the region, the paper presents analyses regarding Canada’s evolving strategic policy, China’s strategic vision, Russia’s ever closer alignment with Asian countries, U.S. strategic objectives in the region and specific security issues that will affect Canada. The study concludes with the recommendation that in order for Canada to properly respond to the new challenges that it will face in the Asia-Pacific region, the country should strengthen the newly-formed Joint Task Force Pacific and bond it with the west coast navy in a joint headquarters, which would bring together elements of the army, navy and air force. Similarly, it is also recommended that Canada improve its disaster response capability, given the proneness of the region to natural disasters.
Vimy Paper 2 – Backgrounder
A study that prescribes activities and initiatives that should be undertaken by the Canadian defence community in light of the major changes that are taking place in the Canadian North. In general, the key identified changes which are occurring in the North and the subsequent challenges that they create, are related and/or due to: environmental change, the emergence of the threat of terrorism to North American security, past indifference to the CF in the North and concerns about confrontations over Canada’s sovereign ownership and control of our Arctic region. After presenting a description of these key changes, the paper then examines what responses and requirements will be needed by the Canadian defence community in regard to: the navy, the army, the air force, joint operations, infrastructure and other fields pertinent to national defence.
Vimy Paper 1 – Backgrounder
“Creating an Acquisition Model that Delivers” is a study that describes and proposes solutions to the crisis in defence acquisition in Canada today. As a response to this crisis, a more relevant national defence acquisition strategy is posited. This strategy, devised entirely by defence experts of the CDAI, is comprised of five core objectives and would include various other essential attributes. After their initial presentation in the piece, the principles of this defence acquisition strategy are applied to naval shipbuilding, air force acquisition, army systems and joint acquisitions. It is observed that the lack of a coherent, national military equipment acquisition strategy is the most vulnerable point in existing procurement procedures and the single most important impediment to transforming and modernizing the Canadian Forces.