Joint Capabilities

Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Activities

  • The Canadian Armed Forces’ cyber capabilities and expertise are critical to defending Canada against 21st century threats from adversaries.
  • This is why we are investing $400 million into initiatives which improve cyber defence and IT infrastructure management.
  • We also created new cyber roles within the Canadian Armed forces to attract new talent for the conduct of cyber operations.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces have also established active cyber operations capabilities to protect personnel and to advance military objectives.
  • Additionally, we gave the authority for the Communications Security Establishment to support Canadian Armed Forces cyber operations abroad.
  • These efforts will help ensure that Canada’s military has the cyber capabilities it needs to conduct operations in conjunction with our allies.

Key Facts

  • Canadian Armed Forces members of cyber trade: 66
  • Additional cyber trade positions created which are being filled: 25
  • $5.8 million spent on Cyber Capital Program initiatives in 20182019.
  • Bill C-59 allows the Communications Security Establishment to assist the Canadian Armed Forces with conducting active cyber operations.

Strong, Secure, Engaged

“Improve […] 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.”

Details Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Capital Program
  • Cyber activities are conducted through the Canadian Armed Forces cyber program. This program is currently strengthening its ability to defend mission-critical military systems, integrating cyber operations into broader military operations, and building future cyber capabilities.
  • The Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Capital Program administrates two key announced projects:
    • Cyber Defence – Decision Analysis and Response Project: This project will improve cyber situational awareness, cyber threat identification and incident response capabilities. It is currently in the Options Analysis phase and is the amalgamation of two former projects: Cyber Situational Awareness and Defensive Cyber Operations – Decision Support.
    • Network Command and Control Integrated Situational Awareness Capability Project. Improve monitoring and decisions regarding our IT infrastructure.
  • Investments supporting these projects and related activities will exceed $400 million. This will allow the Canadian Armed Forces to secure, operate, defend and sustain our networks in the cyber domain.
Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Operator
  • The new cyber operator occupation includes both Reserve and Regular Force members who conduct defensive cyber operations.
  • They also:
    • collect and analyze data from the Canadian Armed Forces computer network systems in support of cyber defence operations;
    • monitor networks for vulnerabilities, potential intrusions, and abnormalities;
    • conduct forensic investigations of cyber incidents; and
    • maintain specialized cyber toolsets.
  • A Cyber Reserve Force provides full-time capability through part-time service by assigning Primary Reserve units and formations new roles, with the goal of enabling strategic decision-making, supporting operational objectives, and delivering tactical effects.
Active Cyber Operations
  • Strong, Secure, Engaged committed to assuming a more assertive posture in the cyber domain by hardening our defences, and by conducting active cyber operations against potential adversaries in the context of government-authorized military missions.
  • Active cyber operations will provide the government a strategic tool to disrupt, degrade, and deny foreign and adversarial threats, and keep Canadians safe. DND/CAF works closely with CSE to develop active cyber capabilities.
The Communications Security Establishment Support To The Canadian Armed Forces:
  • The Communications Security Establishment Act (Bill C-59) allows the Communications Security Establishment to better support the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces in their missions. The Communications Security Establishment helps to protect our forces wherever they are deployed and assists them in their active cyber operations.

Canadian Armed Forces Space Activities

  • The Canadian Armed Forces rely heavily on satellites to support all of its operations including for navigation, communications, and intelligence.
  • That is why we are working on new space technologies to enhance the defence and protection of our satellite capabilities.
  • Additionally, we are investing in a range of new and modern space capabilities, such as satellite communications that achieve global coverage.
  • For example, in 2019 we launched the Canadian RADARSAT Constellation Mission satellites under the leadership of the Canadian Space Agency.
  • These new satellites provide the Canadian Armed Forces increased ability to monitor Canada’s maritime and northern approaches.
  • Canada will continue to work closely with allies and partners to enhance the resilience of the space systems.

Key Facts

  • Recent key space projects:
    • Polar Epsilon 2 (RADARSAT Constellation Mission): National Defence’s ground station project to use data from the 3 new Canadian Satellites that provide increased surveillance capabilities globally;
    • Medium Earth Orbit Search and Rescue: new satellite to improve GPS location accuracy and detection time for Canada and partners; and
    • Mercury Global and Protected Military Satellite Communications Projects: Continued cooperation with Allies to enhance the satellite communication capabilities around the world.

Strong, Secure, Engaged

“Canada will modernize its space capabilities and will take steps to protect these critical assets against sophisticated threats, while continuing to promote the peaceful use of outer space.”

  • National Defence’s space program is organized around four main lines of operation: surveillance of space, surveillance from space (Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), positioning, navigation and timing (e.g. Global Positioning System), and satellite communications.
  • The Royal Canadian Air Force is the functional authority for space within the Department.
  • National Defence, while leading defence space policies and programs, maintains a collaborative relationship with the Canadian Space Agency and other Government departments to optimize whole-of-government space capability outcomes.
  • Since 2014, National Defence has closely collaborated with Five Eyes partners (and, more recently, with France and Germany) in the Combined Space Operation initiative, which enables and enhances cooperation on military and defence space activities. Its objective is to strengthen deterrence, improve resilience of space systems, and leverage participating nations’ space assets.
  • In addition, the Canadian Armed Forces contributes to the surveillance of space by analyzing and providing data in the effort to catalogue space objects and debris.
  • In 2018, 10 of 19 proposals received under the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Challenge “Identification and Characterization of Space Objects” were recommended for funding. Other space-related challenges within the program include: Resilient Non-Global Positioning System (GPS) Based Positioning, Navigation and Timing, and Persistent Maritime Surveillance. There are also a number of other Challenges across IDEaS that have linkages to the space sector.

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