In 2015, CANSOFCOM’s first Strategic Plan, Consolidating the Objective, outlined a roadmap for the development of the Command’s growth from a small to a medium-sized military enterprise. Grounded in the CANSOFCOM Mission Statement, the 2015 Strategic Plan encapsulated the Command’s aspirations and vision for the future as a trusted, agile, adaptable organization, ready to “Win Today,” “Posture for an Uncertain Tomorrow,” and “Prevail in the Long Term.”
To provide the Government of Canada with agile, high-readiness Special Operations Forces capable of conducting special operations in defence of Canada both at home and abroad.
CANSOFCOM has matured as a military force that now stands largely consolidated as an organization. Capable of projecting and operating globally in collaboration with partners, it is continuously engaged in operations within the Canadian National Defence / National Security nexus – both in support of core missions of the Canadian Armed Forces and, increasingly, in partnership with other government departments and agencies.
The global security environment has also evolved. The convergence of threats is accelerating as the interests of non-state actors are overlapping with those of certain states, creating new challenges to the global rules-based order by undermining international laws, norms and frameworks. These threats – which combine and re-combine previously distinct threats into a new united threat system, either temporarily or permanently (for example, transnational crime and terrorism) – are further magnified by the unprecedented speed of technological developments, which also lowers the cost of entry for interested actors to engage in conflict, or on the margins of conflict, in ways never before possible.
Accordingly, this Strategy shifts focus outwards and over the horizon. It seeks to frame the contemporary security context, outline the key issues likely to influence the future operating context and articulate the Command’s role within them. It outlines what we need to do to remain strategically relevant in these environments, details the organizational attributes that guide the Command’s actions, highlights the importance of relationships to every aspect of our work, and sets out the Command’s concrete objectives in relation to a new strategic vision.
Ultimately, successfully delivering upon this Strategy will result in CANSOFCOM’s ability to support National Defence and National Security efforts to re-establish and sustain a global equilibrium of accepted norms. CANSOFCOM will do so through the stewardship and use of asymmetric capabilities that contribute to re-establishing balance in the grey spaces of conflict, thus helping enable the CAF as a whole, the Government of Canada, and ultimately the nation to meet and overcome the complex challenges that threaten our national interests.
Increasingly, the threats to Canada’s national interests fall at the intersection of the mandates, capabilities, skill sets and partnerships of National Defence and other government departments and agencies working on the front lines of national security. Effective responses within this National Defence / National Security nexus require strengthened collaboration between DND/CAF and whole-of-government partners, in particular the Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement communities.
Within this context, CANSOFCOM’s ability to integrate domestic and expeditionary SOF effects within the inter-agency domain is critical. Our unique and complementary capabilities are leveraged on an ongoing basis. These discreet activities enable our partners and protect Canadians and Canadian interests.
CANSOFCOM will deepen, grow and expand its ability to support a wider range of available options in this space.
Grey Space Conflict is conflict that is short of war but long of peace. It is best understood as a conceptual area of activity that is coercive and aggressive in nature and that is deliberately designed to remain below the threshold of conventional military conflict and open inter-state war, while at the same time falling outside the established norms of societal discourse of nations and peoples that underpin the existing rules-based global order.
The Emerging Has Emerged – Section One provides an overview of the contemporary security environment and the future operating environment, and what these realities mean for the Command.
A Vision for CANSOFCOM – Section Two articulates CANSOFCOM’s vision for succeeding as a strategic military option within those contexts.
Levelling the Playing Field – Section Three details CANSOFCOM’s role in enabling the CAF, the Government of Canada and its allies to strengthen global frameworks in support of national interests.
Strategic Relevance – Section Four details what it takes to stay connected to the problem space in order to offer strategic solutions ahead of demand.
Strong Relationships – Section Five highlights the importance of relationships in supporting those efforts.
Competitive Advantage – Section Six lays out the key conditions that allow CANSOFCOMto perform effectively and deliver results, regardless of task, environment or objective.
Agility, Innovation and Risk Management – Section Seven details the Command’s approach to modernization, optimization and experimentation, as well as to managing associated risks.
Assessing Achievement – Section Eight sets out the considerations and metrics that will help assess whether the Command is making progress and realizing value in relation to its goals.
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