Meeting the Canadian Armed Forces’ requirements

The needs of the Department of National Defence (DND), the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and their safety and security partners are wide-ranging and spread between short and long-term requirements. Operators in the field have immediate requirements to respond to real-time threats but there is also a need to anticipate and develop effective responses to emerging threats.

Canada’s defence and security communities rely on Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and its partners to identify advances in science and technology that might have game-changing implications for the defence of Canada and the security of its citizens.

DRDC’s science and technology gives the CAF the edge they need to overcome their adversaries. Our science and technology makes the vital difference in every environment; whether it’s being able to detect an enemy ship while avoiding detection, shield communications from jamming, evade an air-to-air missile or take advantage of space-based situational awareness—DRDC delivers impact.

Build agile and adaptable forces to carry out missions across a wide spectrum of operations

Maximizing the operational effectiveness and safety of CAF personnel, weapons and platforms is essential. The CAF require the capacity to overcome evolving unconventional or novel threats, such as

  • improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
  • chemical and biological agents
  • future capabilities

Extending sensor coverage as far as possible and leveraging automation and remote control/operation of CAF weapon systems gives the CAF added time and space to better react to threats.

The ability of the CAF to operate in the Arctic as well as other extreme or hostile environments is a priority, as is mission effectiveness in the space and cyber domains.

Special Operations Forces have unique requirements that highlight the need to maintain the advantage in the face of rapidly evolving threats, demands and technologies.

DRDC keeps the CAF aware and ready to face evolving tactics and systems like micro-sensors or the cyber-enabled infiltration of key systems.

Assist and support CAF and civilian personnel before, during and after operations

The human aspects of military capability are a critical factor in situational awareness and decision-making, understanding and forecasting hostile intent. DRDC works with CAF personnel to make optimal use of military equipment and systems.

In order to better support CAF personnel and their families, DRDC researches and develops methods and technologies for preventing and reducing the immediate medical and long-term health effects arising from operations.

Looking to the future, DRDC expects engineering methodologies applied to biology to continue to transform the life sciences, potentially offering new ways of augmenting human performance, preventing disease and caring for the injured. DRDC also conducts strategic and operational research to improve the CAF’s ability to support its personnel and their families through programs and services that enhance well-being and prepare them for the eventual transition to civilian life.

Enable the acquisition, sharing and use of critical information in support of situational awareness and decision-making

DRDC is continually seeking better ways to integrate and understand multiple sources of data from its allies during coalition operations as well as the threats, intentions and capabilities of potential adversaries to improve situational awareness for the CAF.

DRDC ensures the computer systems that enable command and control of military personnel are secure, resilient and deployable. DRDC is continually investigating ways to improve these systems for more timely and accurate decision-making as well as securing them against cyber-attacks during missions undertaken by the Forces.

DRDC works with its partners to ensure the CAF can take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by the space and cyber domains to support operations. Space is the definitive high ground for wide area surveillance, and improves the CAF’s ability to monitor Canada’s maritime approaches, territory and airspace. Advances in micro-satellite, surface-based sensors for wide-area surveillance, mobile networks and data mining are all expected to present new challenges and opportunities for their potential defence and security applications.

Develop and implement solutions to maximize the affordability and sustainability of DND and the CAF

Meeting this objective requires DND and the CAF to integrate personnel, training, equipment and financial information in order to obtain a complete force posture and readiness picture both today and in the future. DRDC is working with the CAF to develop methods and technologies that can systematically integrate capabilities, risks and science-based evidence into strategic planning and decision-making.

Support public safety and security practitioners in their mission to protect Canadians

DND, the CAF and their partners across all levels of government work collaboratively to ensure a greater level of resilience against safety and security challenges, both domestically and on the international scene.

Mitigating threats to critical infrastructure enables the efficient flow of goods, services and security cooperation across Canada’s borders. DRDC works with practitioners, first responders and communities to enhance their disaster and emergency preparedness, interoperability, safety, response and recovery capabilities. Innovative solutions to address challenges in each of these three areas need to be developed and operationalized through improved:

  • equipment and technologies
  • strategies
  • doctrine and tactics
  • exercises and training
  • sharing of information

Anticipate, prepare for and counter the emergence of future threats

New capabilities continue to change the character of warfare and pose unforeseen challenges to those responsible for safeguarding national security. Such transformations are often rooted in scientific or technological breakthroughs, as occurred with the introduction of radar, stealth and unmanned vehicles, or with the unique application of existing tools, as in the conflict in Afghanistan, where radio-controlled triggers were used to detonate improvised explosive devices.

Responding effectively to emerging threats requires close, ongoing collaboration between the S&T, intelligence, force development and allied communities, which in turn should enable early warning of advances to maintain the CAF’s advantage over its adversaries.

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