Speaking Notes for The Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence - CANSEC Breakfast Keynote


EY Centre
4899 Uplands Drive
8 AM, 30 May 2018

Distinguished guests,

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning. It is great to be back here at CANSEC.

I would like to first acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people.

I also want to recognize Christyn and her partners here at CADSI for all they do to facilitate dialogue between government and industry.

Many of you have participated in the Canadian Armed Forces Outlook events.

And of course there is this much-anticipated event, which brings us together to showcase the innovation happening across the security and defence industry.

When we come together, we have an opportunity to align our mutual priorities to respond to our military’s needs.

So I want to extend my sincerest thanks to CADSI for planning and hosting this important event.

Every year it seems that the innovation on display becomes more and more impressive.

So too is your commitment to giving our women and men in uniform every advantage on and off the battlefield.

When I was here last year, I was preparing to launch Canada’s new Defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged.

It is hard to believe that the one-year anniversary of our policy is coming up next week.

We built our policy around our people. Our number one priority is to make sure that Canadian Armed Forces members have the support, the care, and the tools they need to do the difficult jobs we ask of them.

Many of you here today play a crucial role in that.

You supply the tools, technology, training and equipment our people use every day.

We see examples of this across the country. In the last couple of weeks, our CAF members helped combat the floods in BC and New Brunswick, and successfully evacuated people from Little Grand Rapids from an approaching fire.

Last year, I spoke to you about how our Defence policy would create a 20-year roadmap to overcome our security and defence challenges.

I spoke about how that policy would provide predictable, sustainable funding to support strategic planning in investments and partnerships.

I stressed the importance of developing and nurturing our industry-government partnerships, and described some of the ways our Defence policy would support that goal.

Well, here we are … nearly one year into that policy.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of the progress we have made in the first year alone.

We worked hard to develop a policy that is both ambitious and achievable.

Because we know that to achieve our objectives, our Defence Team has to be properly resourced… but not just in the short term.

Over the next 10 years, we are increasing our annual defence spending by over $32.7 billion – an increase of more than 70 percent.

And we have made sure that over the next 20 years, our defence policy remains not only fully costed…but fully funded.

This ensures that our women and men in uniform will have the funding, resources, critical equipment and support they need to succeed in their missions.

Our defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, follows the most comprehensive public consultation in defence history.

Many of you in this room were part of the consultations and helped shape our policy. Thank you.

As we developed our policy, we made sure we meticulously costed the projects and secured the funding to achieve the objectives we set out. So I expected we would make significant headway, even in the short period since I spoke to you last year.

The one year mark is also a good time to reflect on how defence procurement is doing overall, and how we can continue delivering on this policy effectively.

Now, I would like to highlight a few of our milestone achievements that are most relevant to you.

To begin, our Defence policy has helped us strengthen our two-way dialogue with you, our trusted partners in Industry.

When we consulted with you on our policy, you said you wanted to be part of the conversation. You wanted better engagement and collaboration to support our shared goals.

We want that too.

So we have been working hard to make it easier for you to regularly engage with us.

We appreciate the advice and feedback we receive from members of our Defence Advisory Board and our Defence Industry Advisory Group.

They help us in so many ways … from building better procurement processes … to addressing challenges like how to manage intellectual property.

To keep you informed, the Defence team also co-hosts Industry Days across the country with our colleagues at Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and Public Services and Procurement Canada.

I am happy about the improvement we are making in how we engage with you during the lead-up to requests for proposal ... and even with bid submissions themselves.

This interactive approach ensures you have the greatest chance for success.

We want to make sure you hear from the outset, what we are looking for. In that way, it is easier to make sure your bids meet the submission requirements.

To use our Canadian Surface Combatant process as an example, we have introduced what we call a cure period into the bid evaluation process.

This is a deliberate phase in which our procurement staff will point out areas where a bidder’s submission needs more explanation and detail.

This is great for us, and great for industry.

We receive more competitive, higher quality bids. And it gives you the chance to ensure you will not be excluded on a technicality.

On a project as complex as a warship, that is vitally important. It is just good business.

Which brings me to another one of our milestones.

This past April, I was pleased to launch a major initiative I alluded to last year at this event.

As you know, our government is committed to fostering innovation. That is why we have invested $1.6 billion over the next 20 years to implement the new Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program, or IDEaS for short.

This program is aimed at driving innovation across Canada toward creative solutions to meet our defence and security challenges.

With IDEaS, we have opened ourselves up beyond our traditional defence community … to non-profits, small and medium-sized businesses, large corporations, government partners — or to any individual Canadian with an idea to tackle our challenges.

We want to harness the full creative power of our nation. My friend and colleague, Minister Bains, will be talking to you about that tomorrow.

IDEaS represents a new way of doing business with Government. In fact, this concept was largely informed through our consultations with you.

So I hope by now, most of you are already quite familiar with the program. We launched the first call for proposals in April … and the good news is, we have extended the closing date by a couple of weeks.

That means you still have time to submit your own innovative solutions to any of the first 16 security and defence challenges we have identified.

Innovation and creativity are all about thinking differently.

Whether it is using old things in new ways, or developing something entirely new, Innovation is about taking an idea and turning it into a competitive advantage.

That is why the IDEaS program deliberately uses broader areas of focus to invite the widest range of potential solutions.

Innovators are free to determine for themselves how their ideas will help us solve problems.

Another exciting element of the IDEaS program is our intent to bring defence experts and innovation leaders together to form networks and clusters.

Academics, industry experts, and scientists will work together to expand ideas and drive innovation forward.

This week, we launched the first call for proposals for the Innovation Networks as part of the IDEaS program.

This Call asks innovators to form interdisciplinary teams of three or more investigators across different sectors.

These Micro-nets, as we are calling them, would propose research projects in the areas of Detection Avoidance and Physical Protection.

The IDEaS program is well integrated with Canada’s broader innovation agenda.

So I look forward to seeing the results of that fruitful collaboration and stimulating competition … not just for our defence community, but for Canada and beyond.

It gives me great pleasure now, to talk about another milestone that we promised in Strong, Secure, Engaged.

Today, I am proud to launch our Defence Investment Plan 2018, which is being published for the first time.

This Investment Plan is an important part of our Government’s commitment to openness, accountability and transparency. It will give you, and all Canadians, vital information about how we are investing public funds.

You will be able to see how SSE funding will be applied over the short and long term to achieve the results you, and Canadians, expect.

You might remember the previous government’s Defence Acquisition Guide, which was aspirational and unfunded.

Put simply, it just did not give our women and men in uniform the critical resources they needed.

When we formed government, we knew this had to change. Because our people deserve better.

The Defence Investment Plan we are launching today is aligned to SSE priorities.

When we talk about IDEaS on page 77 of the Defence policy, you can be sure to find it there in the Investment Plan.

You will also find the roughly 200 other projects that are outlined in the new Defence Capabilities Blueprint.

These are all real projects. And they are all fully funded.

When you look at the Defence Investment Plan, you will see costs provided in ranges. There is enough flexibility in the SSE funding process to allow for adjustments as needed over the lifespan of the policy.

This is sound policy, because over twenty years, circumstances will evolve.

Prudent financial management is at the core of our policy. Last year, we had planned to bring in $6.2 billion for capital investments in the first year. In reality, we brought in $3.9 billion.

About 30 percent of the funds were unspent because we were able to cut costs through better contracts and unused risk mitigation strategy, which is a good thing.

Thanks to better contract performance, some of the project costs actually came in lower than we planned.

Twenty-seven percent of the unspent funds were the result of our own internal processes and additional time required to analyze options of some projects. We will continue reviewing our project management processes to find efficiencies because we can do better. This is a good thing.

Another forty-two percent of the unspent money is related to delays in delivering goods and services by industry. Simply put, we will not pay for non-performance.

Delivering capabilities for our women and men is a shared responsibility; government and industry.

We always know we might not need the extra funds … but they have to be there just in case.

Rest assured, the unspent $2.3 billion dollars is protected. Those funds remain available when we need them.

We take the stewardship of public funds seriously.

The Plan you see now reflects the most current information available.

It will also be refreshed every year, and approved by Treasury Board every three years to ensure our Defence priorities continue to be reflected.

For the first time, our government is publishing the Investment Plan online.

This way, industry and Canadians alike can search for capability investments by Service like Navy or Army … by Defence Capability Investment Areas like avionics …by one of Canada’s 16 Key Industrial Capabilities … or simply by key word.

That will allow you to quickly find information you need to support your planning for R&D and strategic partnerships.

You have been integral to the development of our Defence policy, and you are essential in helping us implement it.

I look forward to strengthening our partnerships even further.

Together, we will spur innovation and modernize defence.

Together, we will ensure the Canadian Armed Forces are well equipped to be Strong at home, Secure in North America, and Engaged in the world.

Thank you for continuing to work with us.

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