Operating context and key risks

Operating context

National Defence policies and initiatives are informed by the complex and ever-evolving security context in which the CAF operate. Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), Canada’s defence policy, identifies three broad trends that will continue to shape the modern security environment: the evolving balance of power, the changing nature of conflict, and rapid advancements of technology.

The relative power of states is shifting, creating a more diffuse environment. This changing global balance of power is characterized by a return to major power competition, territorial disputes, and challenges to the rules-based international order. While states remain the dominant actors, non-state actors, including terrorist and violent extremist organizations, are finding ways to exercise greater influence and add complexity to the operating environment. Additionally, increased interest and activity in the Arctic will result in greater demands to which the CAF must be able to respond.

The characteristics of conflicts, from its causes to the actors involved and their methods of warfare, have evolved rapidly in recent years. For example, combinations of factors, such as economic inequality and climate change, can cause or exacerbate tensions. Hybrid methods, which combine conventional and unconventional tactics by state and non-state actors, present new challenges for Canada in terms of detection, attribution, and response. The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology is also expected to grow.

Rapid advancements in technology, particularly in the space and cyber domains, can be great enablers for the CAF, but they are also a source of new threats. It is essential for the CAF to keep pace with technological developments to maintain its interoperability with allied forces and an edge over adversaries.

A common implication of these trends is that they increasingly transcend national borders and, if left unchecked, could erode the relative safety that Canada’s geography has historically provided. This requires Canada to help promote peace and stability abroad in order to maintain security at home.

Against the backdrop of this ever-evolving operating context, Defence must ensure it is prepared to execute its mandate. SSE lays out a comprehensive, fully costed plan to ensure that the women and men of the CAF have the tools that they need to face current and future challenges to the global security environment. It will orient the efforts of the DND/CAF over the next 20 years to provide Canada with an agile, multipurpose, combat-ready military that can conduct the full spectrum of military operations and is able to simultaneously operate in multiple theatres.

In an effort to further improve transparency and communications with Canadians regarding our department’s mandate, the results we seek and the means by which we achieve them, Defence moved to its new Departmental Results Framework and Program Inventory for FY 2018-19 as per the Treasury Board Policy on Results. This will this be the last Departmental Results Report using the Program Alignment Architecture.

Key risks

As articulated in the section on operating context, the DND/CAF is influenced by a wide range of external and internal factors, both domestic and international, that have an impact on how we carry out our mandate. These factors present both risks and opportunities, which are taken into account as we deliver on our mandate.

Key risks are identified by aggregating risk information from internal and external sources, and considering it in the context of our mandate. Our key risks are articulated in Defence Plan 2016-2019 as follows:

  • Defence readiness;
  • Defence Team capacity;
  • Strategic resilience;
  • Capability delivery;
  • Integrated information management / information technology;
  • Financial controls and reporting of inventory and assets; and
  • Security.

A number of controls are in place to respond to these risks. Response strategy initiatives covered in this report are outlined in the following table. We will continue to monitor emerging issues, developments and trends to anticipate and mitigate the risks associated with them. In doing so, we will remain prepared to respond and provide the Government of Canada with advice and options underpinned by ready forces and capabilities.

Key risks

Risks Mitigating strategy and effectiveness Link to department’s Programs Link to mandate letter commitments and any government-wide or departmental priorities

Defence Readiness

There is a risk that DND will not have sufficient force elements of appropriate readiness to respond to concurrent missions or sequential missions before reconstitution is complete. This includes missions that are planned in advance, as well as responses to unexpected events, which by their nature are unpredictable in time, number, location and effect.

 

  • A New Force Posture and Readiness Directive, which outlines the suite of missions for which the CAF must be ready, was issued 2 March 2018. It ensures that the CAF is postured to deliver operational output in line with the concurrent framework outlined in Canada’s defence policy SSE.

Program 3.0: Defence Ready Force Element Production

Program 5.0: Defence Capability Development and Research

Ensuring CAF Posture and Readiness.

Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to renew Canada’s commitment to United Nations peace operations.

Maintain Canada’s strong commitments to the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

  • The Joint Managed Readiness Program (JMRP) is in its fourth year of a five-year development. It includes a Five Year Exercise Program and outline of each training year, guidance for the conduct of Joint Readiness training and a Joint Training and Validation Plan. Further, the Joint Task List (JTL) has been implemented and is being used to identify Joint Mission Essential Tasks (JMETs) in all CAF Joint Exercises. Joint Tasks are key enablers in the development of mission plans and capability-based, mission-to-task joint training.
  • The Evaluation, Validation and Certification Policy was approved on 24 July 2017. Since its release, several exercises, including JOINTEX 17, have been formally evaluated. An evaluation annex is now a formal requirement on all post-exercise reports. It will continue evaluation of selected exercises and expand existing documentation in support of standing up a formal Evaluation Program. The Evaluation Policy will also be added as an annex to the 2018 JMRP Vol 1.

Program 3.0: Defence Ready Force Element Production

Ensuring CAF Posture and Readiness.

Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to renew Canada’s commitment to United Nations peace operations.

Maintain Canada’s strong commitments to the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) and to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Defence Team Capacity

There is a risk that National Defence will not have the right number of personnel with the right competency, at the right place, and at the right time, which may affect its capability to fulfill current or future Government of Canada and National Defence expectations.

 

  • A number of recruiting initiatives were expanded to address this risk, including:
    • The establishment of a Women’s Tiger Team;
    • Recruiting operations for the CAF Women in Force Program;
    • Targeted outreach activities;
    • Callback campaign for recently closed women files;
    • Priority processing of diversity groups; and
    • Established diversity Strategic Intake Plan (SIP) goals for each CAF occupation.
  • As part of SSE, a comprehensive review of Primary Reserve employment was completed.
  • 11 SSE initiatives and activities are oriented towards strengthening the Reserve Force.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Program 5.0: Defence Capability Development and Research

Internal Services

Strengthening the Defence Team.

Work with senior leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces to establish and maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination.

Work with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence to reduce complexity, overhaul service delivery and strengthen partnerships between National Defence and Veterans Affairs.

Work with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence to develop a suicide prevention strategy for Canadian Armed Forces personnel and veterans.

  • Training, education, and health care modernization are all progressing slower than anticipated due to lower investment levels than anticipated.
    • Activities within the training and health services organizations are being reprioritized to ensure optimal investment alignment.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

 

  • To mitigate risk and ensure that the Department of National Defence has the flexibility to invest in civilian growth, hiring priorities have been aligned with both the MND’s Mandate Letter and the Canadian defence policy - Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE). Critical priorities for hiring included Procurement, Phoenix support, Total Health Management, for Project Approval Process Review (PAPR), Sexual Misconduct Response Centre, and a Harassment and Discrimination Free Workplace.
  • Surge requirement was delivered through the creation and staffing of newly classified positions for critical priority positions and other priority positions. To continue to mitigate this risk, DND has begun to implement a number of initiatives that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of civilian staffing and classification functions, including reducing the administrative burden and streamlining process times.
  • DND also implemented a temporary two-year investment for increased resources in both staffing and classification service delivery. These resources will augment current capacity to address regular demand and flow while also meeting the increased requirement to recruit and retain the right people in support of SSE deliverables.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Internal Services

Strategic Resilience

There is a risk that unexpected events may change the strategic picture such that it requires significant changes to the strategic level of resource planning and result in disruption to National Defence’s business operations.

  • Over the course of FY 2017-18 National Defence developed it’s Departmental Results Framework (DRF), which was approved by Treasury Board in January 2018 and came into effect on 1 April 2018. This framework, which outlines the main aspects of the department’s mandate, will be used to improve program oversight and reporting, strengthen governance and facilitate the management of resources.

 

Program 2.0: Defence Services and Contributions to Government

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Program 5.0: Defence Capability Development and Research

Internal Services

Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability.

Support the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in a review of existing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber-threats.

Conduct an open and transparent review process to create a new defence strategy for Canada, replacing the now-outdated Canada First Defence Strategy.

Capability Delivery

There is a risk that policy and the resultant complexity of development, program approval and procurement processes will prevent National Defence from meeting its investment targets in critical physical assets (equipment, physical and information infrastructure and real property) in a timely, sustainable and affordable manner to enable CAF operations. This risk is about failing to close gaps, or preventing gaps in capabilities that could lead to future mission failure.

  • The implementation of Part I of the Project Approval Process Renewal (PAPR) for Ministerial Submissions has been subsumed into SSE Initiative 94. The implementation is proceeding and DND continues to look for ways to streamline process within the policies and authorities granted by Treasury Board. 

Internal Services

Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability.

Conduct an open and transparent review process to create a new defence strategy for Canada, replacing the now-outdated Canada First Defence Strategy.

Ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the equipment they need.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Integrated Information Management / Information Technology

There is a risk to National Defence if it does not take advantage of emerging technology to further an integrated IM/IT infrastructure that can provide a flexible and agile information environment conducive to efficient interoperable joint CAF operations and executive decision making, while achieving value for money and demonstrating sound stewardship. Failure to do so could also imperil the Command and Control (C2) of CAF operations at home and abroad, as well as the effective management of the defence enterprise.

  • A business arrangement document has been drafted and is currently with the Shared Services Canada (SSC) financial group who are reviewing its contents. SSC financial group is investigating capturing "total cost of ownership".

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence.

Strengthening the Defence Team.

Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability.

Support the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in a review of existing measures to protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber-threats.

Conduct an open and transparent review process to create a new defence strategy for Canada, replacing the now-outdated Canada First Defence Strategy.

  • A basic business intelligence and analytics capability has been implemented as an interim measure. The full capability will be established once the software upgrade is completed and the IT infrastructure is increased to cater for the additional needs.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Program 5.0: Defence Capability Development and Research

Internal Services

  • Defence is working with the Government of Canada (GC) and the Defence Interest Group (international level) to leverage expertise, implement best practices and align to Government of Canada and our allies' initiatives. Defence is also working with Systems Applications and Products (SAP) to influence its development. Implementation of GC priorities include: expanding enterprise Case Management clients:  security clearance processing, operational stress injury social support, and the Operation HONOUR Tracking and Analysis System. GCDOCs has been implemented for over 6100 users at, or destined for, NDHQ Carling.

Program 1.0: Defence Combat and Support Operations

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Financial Controls and Reporting of Inventory and Assets

There is a risk that without the proper financial processes and controls in place, the financial reporting of inventory and capital assets in the Public Accounts of Canada and the Departmental Financial Statements may not accurately reflect the true value of the department’s asset holdings, which may result in a loss of confidence in the department.

  • DND continued to enhance materiel accountability through deliberate actions that will modernize materiel management policy, processes, discipline and accountability as enabled by asset visibility technology and analytics to deliver accurate materiel information and valuation.
  • Materiel Group has implemented a Strategic Initiative in its Materiel Acquisition and Support Transformation Campaign Plan. The Modernize Inventory Management Initiative represents additional comprehensive actions to modernize inventory management policy and processes, acquire asset visibility technologies and improve materiel data in Defence Resource Management Information System.
  • The Enhanced Materiel Accountability initiative under Department's 2016 Action Plan on Inventory Management represents a comprehensive approach to ensuring improved inventory management and reporting and consists of an integrated materiel and financial solution.
  • Building on the work completed to date, DND has continued to implement an effective risk-based system of internal controls that is properly maintained, monitored and reviewed, and complies with the TB Policy on Internal Control, thereby ensuring accurate financial reporting of inventory and capital assets in the Public Accounts of Canada.
  • The ongoing monitoring stage of internal controls over financial reporting has been achieved by focusing on risk mitigation relating to operations and resource management. Several modernization projects are ongoing. A series of compensating controls have been implemented to mitigate high-risk activities.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Internal Services

Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability.

Ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the equipment they need.

Conduct an open and transparent review process to create a new defence strategy for Canada, replacing the now-outdated Canada First Defence Strategy.

Security

There is a risk that some elements of the Defence Security Program are insufficient to assure the protection of all assets and the continuity of critical services in support of readiness, capacity and operational capability.

  • Since the inception of the Departmental Security Plan (DSP) there has been a visible shift in the DND/CAF security culture. For example:
    • Security continues to be a prominent topic of conversation at both the senior leadership level and at the working level;
    • The DSP serves as a living document where users are finding synergies, validating remaining security risks, and acting upon the lessons learned; and
    • The DND/CAF is developing a security program that is reflective of its environment.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence.

  • The implementation of the security performance and evaluation program enables the identification of gaps and trends in the Defence Security Program that may represent an increase threat and risk.  By examining these gaps, the chain of command is able to take action or make informed risk decisions.

Program 4.0: Defence Capability Element Production

  • Governance was established as identified in the Departmental Security Plan including the addition of an IT Security Coordinator within Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) who will work in collaboration with the department's security lead and other stakeholders.

Program 5.0: Defence Capability Development and Research

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