Section 5: Strong Relationships

Ultimately, realizing CANSOFCOM’s Strategic Vision is impossible without trust – the trust of political decision makers, the trust of senior leaders, the trust of the interagency community, the trust of Allies, and the trust of each other. This investment of faith and exchange of vulnerabilities and strengths between parties is the foundation of everything CANSOFCOM does. Because it takes time to build and can be lost faster than it can be earned, trust must be consistently nurtured. CANSOFCOM’s commitment to doing so is manifested through each and every one of our relationships.

Relationships provide the platform on which to create a shared language of understanding between actors. These links facilitate communications, reinforce shared vision and build a sense of common identity. In this way, relationships help further mutual interests and extend individual value, thus leading to a greater overall sense of collective purpose.

In concrete terms, relationships enable shared situational understanding, improve interagency systems and processes, deliver more effective use of stand-alone and complementary capabilities (to both the CAF and partner agencies), and provide better solutions for countering adversaries. CANSOFCOM will pursue a relationship strategy that allows us to leverage and contribute to these connections, in order to act more effectively in the operational environment. Doing so will help posture the CAF to increase the options available to the Government of Canada, such as by providing unique capabilities to support the operations/ activities of partners in the Security, Intelligence and Law Enforcement communities, in furtherance of broader governmental interests and desired outcomes.

CANSOFCOM will therefore continue to capitalize on its long history of close cooperation with other Government departments, interagency partners and allies, in order to ensure full collaboration with other elements of state power such as diplomatic, informational, legal, economic and law enforcement power. It will also dedicate time, energy, and resources to identifying and nurturing a variety of other relationships, be they interpersonal or institutional; situational or strategic; time-bound or enduring.

The Global SOF Network is critical to the Command’s success and will remain a significant and important focus of its attention. In addition, multilateral organizations, non-governmental and civil society organizations, industry actors, strategic influencers, educational institutions and even non-defence-specific corporations all play important roles within the international security environment. Each offers unique perspectives, complementary capabilities and access to people, regions, tools and insights that CANSOFCOM would not otherwise have on its own.

In particular, the Command’s relationship with our Five Eyes Plus partners, with the various nations around the world with whom we train and conduct operations, and within key military alliances such as NATO help enable Canada’s broader contributions to these coalitions. CANSOFCOM will continue to pursue and nurture these opportunities, which allow the CAF, and by extension the country, to gain situational awareness, to improve shared understanding, and to implement, fulfill and leverage mutually beneficial protection and support agreements, to great effect.

Lastly, as the military joint space has become increasingly important, the Command will continue to strengthen its relationships within the CAF and improve its integration with the environmental services and other Commands, as well as with complementary joint capabilities such as cyber, intelligence and joint targeting, among others.

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