Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) Intent - Operation HONOUR

December 2018

Distribution List

Reference: Additional CDS Planning Guidance on Operation HONOUR, 19 July 2018

  1. (U) On 20 November 2018, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) released its 2018 Fall Reports, which included a performance audit report on Inappropriate Sexual Behaviour in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). I welcome this review and acknowledge and express my support for the Auditor General’s recommendations. While I issued updated guidance to you on Operation HONOUR during the summer (reference), the publication of the OAG Report represents an additional opportunity to refocus our efforts to emphasize enhanced victim support, and to expand the role of the Sexual Misconduct Response Center (SMRC). The following represents my intent, with the understanding that matters which must be addressed by independent actors of the military justice system will be dealt with under their own authority.
  2.  (U) General. Operation HONOUR remains the CAF’s highest institutional priority – accordingly, it will be the highest institutional priority for all CAF leaders, regardless of rank or appointment. The CAF have made some significant advances in our operations against harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour, but it is clear we need to do more. Harmful sexual behaviour and the wreckage resulting from it remains a serious persistent problem that threatens both the immediate welfare of our people and the long-term health of our armed forces. Our command-led, orders-driven initial response has been effective to a point, but is now culminating. We have completed some important foundational work, but we must now develop an effective, fully coordinated and resourced long-term response to address this challenge. To ensure the progress of the ideas and intent of Operation HONOUR, we will turn to a properly resourced campaign methodology, informed and supported by experts, where we tackle any outstanding concerns, whether identified by the External Review Authority (ERA), the OAG or through internal mechanisms.
  3.  (U) Campaign Design. The Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) will lead the design and implementation of a resourced and expertly informed campaign along clearly defined lines of operation that addresses the expectations and spirit of the ten recommendations contained within the ERA Report. The campaign must be in effect by 31 July 2019. As a minimum, the campaign plan must ensure effective and timely implementation of the following:
    1. Support for victims. Care, support for, and informed guidance to the victim is the MAIN EFFORT throughout. A new Defence Administrative Orders and Directives (DAOD) that encompasses the management and procedures of dealing with an Operation HONOUR incident, from moment of harm to a conclusion that seeks to re-establish the morale and operational effectiveness of the victimwhile ensuring the best possible chance of achieving a sense of closure for all concerned, is required. The victim must be supported throughout by an assigned, fully trained individual that assists and manages the various steps and decisions a victim may need to make, and provides feedback to the chain of command regarding the victim's satisfaction with the process. The path from moment of harm to closure must be reflected in the DAOD and it must contain the necessary direction that underpins and supports, in a flexible manner, the very individualized path that a victim, and the individual assigned to assist them, may follow. The path must also contain the duties, rights, expectations and responsibilities for every person or agency, other than those independent organisations, that may come in ‘official’ contact with the victim, and the alleged or proven perpetrator. The SMRC will be the principal authority to determine and communicate the best practices to be contained within the new DAOD.
    2. Orders, Policies and Direction. As indicated above, a new, holistic and expertly informed DAOD is to be published. It must be sufficient to guide any person involved in an Operation HONOUR incident from moment of harm through to closure. The DAOD must ensure that while the duty to report remains viable, the disposition and actions taken by a person authorized to receive a report do not in any way infringe upon a victim’s need to contribute to the process and path they have been set upon as a result of being harassed, assaulted or harmed. Accordingly, we must clarify the intent and purpose on duty to report in order for it to recognize the victim's needs, including attenuating the pace and tempo of the CAF’s response. Privacy, control, support and information must be key aspects of support given.
    3. SMRC. CAF senior leadership will support fully the expansion of mandate and assigned resources to the SMRC so that victims have confidence in the CAF while trying to manage and recover from harm. The SMRC’s broadened mandate will enable it to provide the CAF with objective, independent information, advice and assessments of victim’s support and case management, while independent actors of the military justice system address issues under their authority.
    4. Prevention. Although support to victims remains a key effort, efforts to educate and prevent occurrences must remain a constant priority. Our campaign must consider much more significant investment in training at recruit and leadership stages.
    5. Engagement. It is clear that constant and respectful engagement with all concerned parties will aid senior leadership in their efforts to learn of how best to address flaws in policy and execution of campaign objectives.
    6. Closing Gaps. A relentless effort must be undertaken at all levels of the chain of command to close policy gaps. The SMRC will be asked to consider any gaps and provide expert advice. Individuals who raise observations or criticisms about any real or perceived gaps must be taken seriously and, where appropriate, solutions are to be implemented without delay.
    7. Culture Change. The campaign must be directed by an expertly informed cultural change strategy that emphasizes trust, respect and teamwork. It is clear that education will play a part, but formal leadership training related to getting the best from our people, while offering our best to them, must be fundamental to the approach.

J.H. Vance

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