Operating context and key risks - 2018-19 Departmental Plan

Operating Context

National Defence policies and activities are informed by the evolving security context in which the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) operates. 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 the rapid evolution of technology.

Trends in global economic development are shifting the relative power of states. The evolving balance of power and growing multipolarity are characterized by a return to major power competition, territorial disputes and challenges to the rules-based international order. This trend also creates an environment in which non-state actors, including terrorist and violent extremist organizations, are able to exercise more influence than before, which leads to new challenges for state authority. Additionally, the rise of interest and activity in the Arctic will call for the CAF to be increasingly able to operate in the region.

The nature of conflict and its drivers have changed considerably over the past years. They are becoming increasingly complex as a variety of interrelated conditions can trigger or influence conflicts in often unexpected ways. Economic inequality and climate change, for example, have a growing potential to aggravate conflict. The increasing use of hybrid tactics by state and non-state actors presents new difficulties in terms of detection, attribution and response. The spread of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile technology is also expected to grow.

As technology continues to evolve at a blinding pace, it is essential for the CAF to keep pace to maintain both interoperability with allies and an edge over adversaries. Technology, particularly in the space and cyber domains, can be a great enabler for the military, but also a source of new threats.

A common realization from these trends is that many threats are diffuse and transcend national borders. These trends undermine the security once provided by Canada’s geography. This requires Canada’s engagement to help promote security and stability abroad, including through participation in peace operations.

Against the backdrop of this ever-evolving operating context, National 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 and 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 theaters.

Key Risks

As articulated in the operating context, National Defence is influenced by a wide range of external and internal factors, both domestic and international, that can affect how we achieve our mandate. These factors present risks, which we carefully consider as we deliver on our roles and responsibilities.

Key risks are identified by aggregating risk information from internal and external sources, and considering that information in the context of our mandate. Key risks are articulated in Defence Plan 2018-2023 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 table below. 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.

Through a consultative process, a new enterprise risk management policy and guidelines will be developed. It will reinforce our departmental objectives to further integrate risk management into defence planning and decision-making.

Risks Risk response strategy Link to the department's Core Responsibilities Link to mandate letter commitments and any government-wide or departmental priorities

Defence Readiness

There is a risk Defence 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.

Continue to evolve the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Force Posture and Readiness Directive to ensure annual readiness levels keep pace with changing domestic and international environments.

Conduct joint exercises with Arctic allies and partners and support the strengthening of situational awareness and information sharing in the Arctic, including with NATO.

Establish a joint targeting capability to better leverage intelligence to support military operations

Increase intelligence capabilities and capacity to deliver on the full spectrum of the defence intelligence mandate, including collection and analysis resources, and integrated intelligence production and dissemination.

Increase the size of the Primary Reserve Force to enhance the role and capabilities of the Reserve Force in line with Regular Force personnel capabilities.

Revise annuitant employment regulations to attract and retain more former Regular Force personnel to the Reserves.

Offer full-time summer employment to Reservists in their first four years with the Reserves commencing in 2018 to support the generation of forces.

Advance Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) acquisition and modernization initiatives to enhance CAF readiness and response capabilities.

Acquire or modernize training simulation systems to better prepare Canadian Armed Forces members for operations.

Ready forces

Defence team

Future force design

Procurement of capabilities

Sustainable bases, IT systems and infrastructure

Mandate letter commitments:

  • Renew Canada's commitment to United Nations peace operations
  • Maintain Canada's strong commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • Maintain Canada’s strong commitment to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD)

Government-wide priority:

  • Greater safety and security for Canadians
  • International engagement that makes a difference in the world

Departmental priorities:

  • Canada's new vision for defence
  • Well-supported, diverse, resilient people and families
  • Investments to enhance capability and capacity

Defence Team Capacity

There is a risk 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 Government of Canada and Defence expectations, in particular as it relates to the implementation of SSE.

Promote the recruitment and retention of a diverse, comprehensive, and talented pool of full- and part-time members, including a focus on under-represented populations within the Canadian Armed Forces, such as women, Indigenous peoples, and members of visible minorities, in priority occupations who view the Canadian Armed Forces as an employer of choice.

Implement the first-ever, integrated strategy for human resources to balance the optimal assignment of tasks between the military, defence civilians and the private sector.

Promote diversity and inclusion as a core institutional value across the Defence team through the implementation of the Diversity Strategy and Action plan including instituting mandatory diversity training across all phases of professional development and the integration of Gender-Based Analysis Plus in all defence activities across the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence, from the design and implementation of programs and services that support our personnel, to equipment procurement and operational planning.

Support the implementation of the 10 recommendations of the Deschamps Report through Operation HONOUR. As well, provide teams and services to Bases and Wings and Military Family Resource Centres to prevent, respond to and support victims and survivors of gender-based violence.

Increase incrementally intelligence personnel.

Increase Special Operations Forces personnel.

Increase the size of the Primary Reserve Force to 30,000 and dramatically reduce the initial recruitment process from a number of months to a matter of weeks and increase the number of primary roles for which Reservists can be employed such as Capacity Building and Cyber operations.

Revise service models relating to universality of service, transition between full- and part-time service, and annuitant employment regulation to retain more fully trained personnel in employable status.

Defence team

Mandate letter commitments:

  • Establish and maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination.

Government-wide priority:

  • Greater safety and security for Canadians
  • International engagement that makes a difference in the world

Departmental priorities:

  • Canada's vision for Defence
  • Well-supported, diverse, resilient people and families
  • Invesments to enhance capability and capacity
  • Defence innovation

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.

Conduct joint exercises with Arctic allies and partners and support the strengthening of situational awareness and information sharing in the Arctic, including with NATO.

Modernize NORAD to meet existing challenges and evolving threats to North America, taking into account the full range of threats.

Bolster our ability to respond to increasingly severe natural disasters at home and abroad.

Develop and maintain a robust capacity to respond concurrently to multiple domestic emergencies.

Support Canada's engagement and leadership in international policy discussions enabling a proactive participation in the global security environment.

Operations

Ready Forces

Procurement of capabilities

Future force design

Mandate letter commitments:

  • Renew Canada’s commitment to United Nations peace operations
  • Maintain Canada’s strong commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
  • Maintain Canada’s strong commitment to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Government-wide priority:

  • Greater safety and security for Canadians
  • International engagement that makes a difference in the world

Departmental priorities:

  • Investments to enhance capability and capacity
  • Canada's vision for Defence
  • Stable, realistic, and predictable funding

Capability Delivery

There is a risk that the complexity of development, program approval and procurement processes will prevent 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 which may lead to future mission failure.

Grow and professionalize the procurement workforce at the Department of National Defence in order to strengthen the capacity to manage the acquisition and support of today's complex military capabilities.

Reduce project development and approval times by at least 50 percent for low-risk and low-complexity projects through improved internal coordination and delegation.

Increase the transparency and timeliness of communication with defence industry associations, including instituting meetings between National Defence and Canadian industry through a Defence Industry Advisory Group and other fora.

Defence team

Future force design

Procurement of capabilities

Mandate letter commitments:

  • Ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces have the equipment they need
  • Maintain current National Defence spending levels, including current planned increases
  • Launch an open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fighter aircraft
  • Invest in strengthening the Navy while meeting the commitments that were made as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy
  • Maintain Canada’s strong commitments to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
  • Renew Canada’s focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory and approaches, particularly for our Arctic regions.

Government-wide priority:

  • Greater safety and security for Canadians
  • International engagement that makes a difference in the world

Departmental priorities:

  • Modernizing the business of defence
  • Defence innovation

Integrated Information Management (IM) / Information Technology (IT)

There is a risk to 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 Defence 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.

Modernize land-based command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems.

Acquire space capabilities meant to improve situational awareness and targeting to improve the identification and tracking of threats and that will enhance and improve tactical narrow- and wide-band communications globally, including throughout Canada’s Arctic region.

Acquire new Tactical Integrated Command, Control, and Communications, radio cryptography, and other necessary communications systems.

Modernize and enhance Special Operations Forces Command, Control and Communications information systems, and computer defence networks.

Acquire joint command and control systems and equipment, specifically for integrated information technology and communications.

Acquire joint signals intelligence capabilities that improve the military's ability to collect and exploit electronic signals intelligence on expeditionary operations.

Improve the capabilities of the Joint Deployable Headquarters and Signals Regiment, including the portable structures that house the headquarters when deployed and the equipment employed by that headquarters for command, control and communications.

Integrate existing and future assets into a networked, joint system-of-systems that will enable the flow of information among multiple, interconnected platforms and operational headquarters.

Implement a foundational business intelligence and analytics capability.

Ready forces

Future force design

Procurement of capabilities

Sustainable bases, IT systems and infrastructure

Mandate letter commiments:

  • Protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber threats

Government-wide priority:

  • Greater safety and security for Canadians
  • International engagement that makes a difference in the world

Departmental priorities:

  • Canada's new vision for Defence
  • Investments to enhance capability and capacity

Financial controls and reporting of inventory and assets

There is a risk that 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’s ability to manage the public purse. This risk may result in DND/CAF being given tighter controls resulting in less flexibility and making us less agile but more importantly, without this visibility and control, Defence is at risk of wasting precious resources that should be directed to higher priority initiatives.

Publish the Defence Investment Plan publicly on a tri-annual basis to ensure Canadians can clearly understand future changes to the budget and to deliver on the government's commitment of transparency, results and accountability.

Transform the defence funding model that clearly and transparently identifies the investments required to acquire new assets and those funds required to conduct the business of defence.

Improve materiel visibility and oversight, reduce excess inventory and enable the reduction of “overbuy” expenditures through improved stock accuracy, increased data clarity and integrity.

Implement a foundational business intelligence and analytics capability to plan and procure the right quantities of materiel.

Procurement of capabilities

Internal services

Mandate letter commitments:

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

Departmental priorities:

  • Modernizing the business of Defence
  • Stable, predictable, realistic funding

Security

There is a risk that the Defence Security Infrastructure is insufficient to ensure that Defence can support its overall defence readiness, capacity, and ability to operate as a trusted partner.

Improve current cryptographic capabilities, information operations capabilities, and cyber capabilities to include: cyber security and situational awareness projects, cyber threat identification and response, and the development of military-specific information operations and offensive cyber operations capabilities able to target, exploit, influence and attack in support of military operations.

Establishing a new Cyber Mission Assurance Program that will incorporate cyber security requirements into the procurement process in order to protect critical military networks and equipment from cyber-attack.

Grow and enhance the cyber force by creating a new Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Operator occupation to increase the number of military personnel dedicated to cyber functions. This will include the recruitment and employment of Reservists with specialized skill sets to fill elements of the CAF cyber-force.

Address the threat stemming from terrorism and the actions of violent extremist organizations, including in the ungoverned spaces.

Operations

Ready forces

Defence team

Future force design

Procurement of capabilities

Mandate letter commitments:

  • Protect Canadians and our critical infrastructure from cyber threats
  • Renew the focus on surveillance and control of Canadian territory, and approaches, particularly for our Arctic regions

Government-wide priority:

  • Greater safety and security for Canadians
  • International engagement that makes a difference in the world

Departmental priorities:

  • Defence innovation
  • Investments to enhance capability and capacity
  • Canada's new vision for Defence
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