What’s New from the CDA Institute – 3 August 2017

From our CEO / De notre PDG

This past week a great deal of media attention has been given to Saudi Arabia, with allegations of incidents of human rights abuses in dealing with rebel/dissent forces in their eastern provinces and then with questions as to whether Canadian-made armoured vehicles may have been used by the Saudi security forces during these incidents. Furthermore, there are suggestions that the Canadian Government should/must act to address these allegations of human rights abuse by cancelling any current defence equipment sales to Saudi Arabia as the sole option, apparently, open to Canada in addressing this matter.

Difficulties in gauging from the Canadian perspective, how Saudi Arabia handles its thorny internal challenges, is not a new issue and one far more complex than the single (and simplistic) perspective of how Canada supports the promotion of human rights internationally. To see that this is the case, one need look no further than the March 2016 article by CDA Institute Council of Advisors member, Richard Cohen (a link to that article is provided below).  The impetus to look at Saudi Arabia from one perspective only, whether in attempting to gauge what is truly happening in that country and the immediate region, or in examining options to address concerns stemming from these allegations, contrives to portray world problems and ‘solutions’ as simple and binary, which they are not.  So is the attempt to dismiss out of hand the costs or risks to Canada and Canadians in the pursuit of a single ideal, however admirable. The promotion of human rights has and continues to be an important aspect of Canadian foreign policy, but so too are our efforts to promote international and regional stability, the fight against extremism and radicalism, the promotion of international trade, the creation of a strong and productive domestic industrial base, and the effective provision of domestic and international security for Canada and Canadians – all of which could be affected by any decision Canada may wish to take in looking at the issues raised recently. Canada has a complex relationship with Saudi Arabia, one that is not simply related to our two nations, but also to key allies and partners.  Our reaction should reflect that reality – as should our understanding of, and readiness to deal with the consequences, both positive and negative, that may flow from it.



I would also like to welcome to our team at the National Office two new members.  First, Dur-e-Aden, who is a PhD student and SSHRC CGS Doctoral Scholar in the Department of Political Science at University of Toronto.  She has joined us as a student research assistant – her research focuses on the recruitment patterns of both men and women in terrorist/insurgent groups and I strongly encourage you to read her excellent review of the Defence Policy from a terrorism/cyber warfare perspective, the link for which you will find in our Website Updates section of this post. Second, Louise Côté joins us after long and very successful careers in the CAF (transitioning as a Petty Officer 1st Class) and the Public Service (with Directorate of Honours and Recognition), to become our Awards and Communications Manager.  Welcome to them both!

 Upcoming CDA and CDA Institute Events

Vimy Award Gala Dinner
November 3, 2017
Canadian War Museum
Ottawa, Ontario





The Vimy Award Gala Dinner brings together our men and woman in uniform; both past and present, multi-industry leaders, foreign and domestic security and defence representatives, members of Canadian government and Canadian citizens from coast to coast all who wish to be part of this important event and witness the presentation of the Vimy Award.

In 1991, the Vimy Award was established to recognize Canadians who have made outstanding commitments to our national security and defence and towards preserving our democratic values, normally as a life-long achievement and is one of the most anticipated events hosted by the CDA Institute.

Sponsorship opportunities for the Vimy Award Gala Dinner provide to you experience, exposure and return on investment you look for in your sponsorship expenditures. Opportunities will sell out so contact Jennifer Giguere at jennifer@cdainstitute.ca to secure your company’s place at this very important event for Canada.


20th Annual Graduate Student Symposium
October 112-13, 2017
Royal Canadian Military College
Kingston, ON




Celebrating its 20th year, this impressive and well-attended Symposium draws together Canadian and international MA and PhD 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.

Be seen as the company that supports our industry leaders of tomorrow. By supporting the GSS you are assisting the CDA Institute in our continued efforts in enhancing and expanding educational experiences for students who are investing in the future of the security and defence sector in Canada.  Contact Jennifer Giguere at jennifer@cdainstitute.ca today!

Recent CDA Institute Web Updates/Dernières mises à jour sur le Site internet de l’Institut de la CAD:


De notre Chargé de Recherche Howard Coombs – Aerograms de l’Institut de la CAD / CDA Institute Aerograms – From our Research Fellow Howard Coombs

1. Small Wars Journal | July 28, 2017

Available at https://www.pdf-archive.com/2017/07/28/theoperationalenvironment/ is the US Army Training and Doctrine Command paper, “The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare.” Below is a Small Wars Journal description of this material as well as following an excerpt from the Army Times.

The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare

The U.S. military, and therefore, the U.S. Army, finds itself at a historical inflection point, where disparate, yet related elements of the Operational Environment (OE) are converging, creating a situation where fast moving trends across the Diplomatic, Information, Military, and Economic (DIME) spheres are rapidly transforming the nature of all aspects of society and human life – including the character of warfare.

In The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare, the first part of this paper describes how technology will impact how we live, create, think and prosper. The authors use this description to make an assessment on the OE and its implication on the future of warfare through 2050, which in their view is a continuum divided into two distinct timeframes:

– The Era of Accelerated Human Progress, 2017-2035, which relates to a period where our adversaries can take advantage of new technologies, new doctrine and revised strategic concepts to effectively challenge U.S. military forces across multiple domains.

– The Era of Contested Equality, 2035-2050, which is marked by significant breakthroughs in technology and convergences in terms of capabilities leading to significant changes in the character of warfare. During this period, traditional aspects of warfare undergo dramatic, almost revolutionary changes which at the end of this timeframe may even challenge the very nature of warfare itself.

As a data-centric organization, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) G-2 continuously examines and develops new methods to understand, visualize, describe, deliver and assess the conditions of the operational environment. TRADOC G-2 would appreciate your feedback on this paper, which can be found under Deep Futures Assessment on the TRADOC Mad Scientist web page at http://www.tradoc.army.mil/watch/ 

The views and opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Army, TRADOC, or any other agency or entity within the U.S. Government.

2. Warfighters will be Machines in Concept of Future Battlefield

By Todd South, Army Times, July 26, 2017


The future battlefield will likely contain autonomous robots, lasers and countless drones but beyond the equipment that grabs everyone’s attention at least one military leader says a framework for how to fight in that new arena is what’s most important. Gen. David Perkins, commander of the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, shared the evolving “Multi-Domain Battle” concept to a crowd of more than 150 military leaders, government representatives and scientific thinkers at the third annual “Mad Scientist” conference at Georgetown University Tuesday. The two-day event shares presentations with science fiction-bent thinking to help military leaders hear from the academic community and others on how best to fight future wars.

More than 150 papers were submitted ahead of the conference, the winner of the contest was Marine Corps infantry officer Mathison Hall, a senior analyst at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab. Hall’s paper, “Patrolling the Infosphere,” presented a scenario of an automated battlefield with human soldiers and Marines in exo-skeleton suits capable of running 40 mph in battle and fighting an artificial “bug” with both biological and cyber capabilities. During his talk, Hall told the audience that there might be a “Human Horizon” to the battlespace in which the actual fighting happens between machines, which could be 30 to 40 years from now or sooner. The infantry then likely becomes a combination of special operations forces and civil affairs, areas where humans are still needed on the ground.

TRADOC released the most recent of its papers for the evolving Multi-Domain Battle concept, titled “The Operational Environment and the Changing Character of Future Warfare,” as part of the conference. The paper identifies threats that go far beyond the current battlefield, looking at how the U.S. military and its allies will keep pace with an “Era of Accelerated Human Progress” over the next 20 years, followed by an “Era of Contested Equality” for the subsequent 15 years.

Meantime, researchers, government and military leaders must take advantage of rapidly-developing technologies such as artificial intelligence, neurologic enhancement, quantum computing, nanotechnology, robotics, additive manufacturing and bio-engineering to keep pace with competitors. Gone are the days of complete U.S. supremacy, Perkins and his staff conclude. Near-peer competitors include Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, with China closing fast on Russian capabilities, likely to surpass them within the next two decades. The myriad of challenges must be met with imagination, Perkins told the crowd. In that past emergencies drove change at a terrible cost, such as when the United States entered World War I and World War II. The aim of TRADOC and its partners is to develop capabilities that can change doctrine, creating a structure that allows the military to change on its terms, rather than amid a catastrophe. Using air, land, sea, cyber and space, future forces will develop a “menu of dilemmas” to present to the enemy.

Speaking to the media after his presentation, Perkins gave the example of concealing radio transmissions. Historically the antenna emitting the signal would be located a distance from the operations center, so that if the enemy discovered the signal and struck it would not destroy the center. That was one form of concealing the position. Instead, what might happen with multi-domain capabilities would be to create hundreds or thousands of signals that all look just like the actual transmitter, thereby confusing the enemy and consuming their time and resources trying to figure out which was the real threat. By the time then enemy has figured it out, Perkins said, our forces have completed the objective and moved on.

The past five years of research along with pending white papers will culminate in a new Army field manual on operations later this year, which will outline the framework for moving to multi-domain battle as an operational concept and eventual Army doctrine, Perkins said.

3. Multi-domain Logistics and Library Alert

Available at https://logisticsinwar.com/2017/06/27/organising-logistics-for-multi-domain-battle-making-a-complex-problem-even-more-complex/ is the logisticsinwar.com article “Organising logistics for Multi-Domain Battle: Making a Complex Problem Even More Complex.” I would like to thank Captain Tracy East for sharing this piece with us. Tracy also offered the observation: “In contrast to traditional “lines” or echelons of support, the author discusses the possibility of a hybrid, dispersed support structure which may need to be accessed by any L1 on the battlefield, not just one’s own environment or Brigade.”

Also, I would like to thank Mr. Travis Ferrell, Research Librarian, U.S. Army War College Library, for sharing the Library Alert that is below.

Note: The links to the resources below may be found on the following webpage:

1. “The Army Modernization Imperative: A New Big Five for the Twenty-First Century” by
Andrew Hunter and Rhys McCormick, Center for Strategic & International Studies

2. “After ISIS: Creating Strategic Stability in Iraq” by Anthony H. Cordesman, Center for Strategic & International Studies

3. “Putin’s Syrian Gambit: Sharper Elbows, Bigger Footprint, Stickier Wicket” by John W. Parker, National Defense University Press

4. “Putin’s Multipolar World and What it Means for U.S. Strategy” by Elihugh M. Abner, Association of the United States Army

5. “China’s Foreign Policy Experiment in South Sudan” International Crisis Group

6. “Seventh Annual CSIS South China Sea Conference” (recorded conference) Center for Strategic & International Studies

Program begins about 33:50

7. “Cross-Strait Relations Re-examined: Toward a New Normal?” (recorded conference) Center for Strategic & International Studies

Program begins about 35:15

8. “Sudan: A Strategy for Re-Engagement” (report) by Mary Carlin Yates and Kelsey Lilley, Atlantic Council

9. “Libya: From Intervention to Proxy War” by Karim Mezran and Elissa Miller, Atlantic Council

10. “A New Deal for the Twenty-First Century” by Edward Alden and Robert E. Litan, Council on Foreign Relations

‘VR Howard”

News around the World / Nouvelles dans le monde

Le président Macron met la barre très haut pour régler la crise des migrants (La Presse, 27 juillet)


Poutine affiche la puissance navale russe (LaLibre.be, 30 juillet)


Ontario seats, or Saudi lives? In Ottawa, there’s no contest.   (iPolitics, 31 July)


“Clear and Present Danger” – discussing terrorism and counter-terrorism activities in Australia. (ASPI, 31 July)


High stakes in the Himalayas: China-India standoff fuelled by nationalism and new self-confidence (CBC, 31 July)


Regular contributor to the CDA Institute, David M Law, comments on US President Trump, NATO and the relationship with Russian President Putin ( davidmlaw.com, 2 August)


“Regime Change in North Korea: Be Careful What You Wish For” and “China, China, China” provide cautionary commentary on the art of the possible for the peninsula  (38 North, 2 and 3 August)



On Saudi arms sale, Ottawa must be prepared to say no (Globe and Mail, 3 August)


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