Issue Brief on Canada’s New Defence Policy


The Defence Policy Review (DPR), released on June 7th, is the first comprehensive review of Canadian defence strategy since Canada First Defence Strategy of the Harper Government published in 2008.

Entitled Strong Secure Engaged, the Review ( it identifies a variety of issues and promises an increase of funding to $32.7 billion over the next 10 years. However, only some of this money will be available right away; most of it will come after the next election.

Three sections are of strategic importance to ITAC members, Cyber, Improving Defence Procurement and Innovation


The Defence team works closely with the Communications Security Establishment, Public Safety Canada, Global Affairs Canada and Shared Services Canada on cyber issues. To date, this work has focused on strengthening the defence of important military systems, network monitoring and control, building the future cyber force, and integrating defensive cyber operations into broader military operations. However, Cyber intersects with multiple areas of Canada’s new defence policy. The first mention is the link to recruitment: to succeed in the highly technical cyperspace arena, the Canadian Armed Forces must hire individuals with relevant knowledge and experience. But this is not enough and the Review also notes the importance of investments in developing our joint capabilities related to cyber issues. This includes cyber security and situational awareness projects; cyber threat identification and response; and development of offensive cyber operations.

NEW INITIATIVES To better leverage cyber capabilities in support of military operations, the Defence team will:

  1. Build CFINTCOM’s capacity to provide more advanced intelligence support to operations, including through an enhanced ability to forecast flashpoints and emerging threats, better support next generation platforms and understand rapid developments in space, cyber and other emerging domains. (page 66)
  2. Protect critical military networks and equipment from cyber attack by establishing a new Cyber Mission Assurance Program that will incorporate cyber security requirements into the procurement process. (page 72)
  3. Develop active cyber capabilities and employ them against potential adversaries in support of government-authorized military missions. (page 72)
  4. Grow and enhance the cyber force by creating a new Canadian Armed Forces Cyber Operator occupation to attract Canada’s best and brightest talent and significantly increasing the number of military personnel dedicated to cyber functions. (page 72)
  5. Use Reservists with specialized skill-sets to fill elements of the Canadian Armed Forces cyber force. (page 72)

Improving Defence Procurement

Canada’s defence procurement system has many weaknesses, causing delays, lack of accountability, and poor communication between the different stakeholders. To improve the process, the DPR includes 8 initiatives:

  1. Reduce project development and approval time in the Department of National Defence by at least 50 percent for low-risk and low-complexity projects through improved internal coordination, increased delegation and strengthened approval processes. (Page 75)
  2. Work with partners to increase the Department of National Defence’s contracting authorities for goods up to $5 million by 2018, allowing over 80 percent of defence procurement contracts to be managed by Defence. (Page 75)
  3. Use procurement to incentivize Canadian research and development in important and emerging technological areas. (Page 75)
  4. Increase the transparency and timeliness of communication to the defence industry associations, including instituting meetings between the Department of National Defence and Canadian industry through a Defence Industry Advisory Group and other fora. (Page 75)
  5. Grow and professionalize the defence procurement workforce to strengthen the capacity to manage the acquisition and support of today’s complex military capabilities. This includes the addition of new procurement specialists and enhanced training and professional accreditation for defence procurement personnel. (Page 75)
  6. Provide Canadians with regular updates on major project and programs to increase transparency, communicate challenges, and measure performance, including by publishing National Defence’s Investment Plan. (Page 75)
  7. Ensure that Canadian environmental standards are adhered to in all procurement projects.


The Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program, (IDEaS), will launch several coordinated new initiatives that will transform the way we generate solutions to complex problems. The Defence team will work more closely with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) to align closely with Canada’s broader Inclusive Innovation Agenda, particularly as it relates to its objectives to grow companies and accelerate growth, encourage an entrepreneurial and creative society, leverage global scientific excellence, and establish world-leading research clusters.

NEW INITIATIVES Invest $1.6 billion over the next 20 years to implement the new IDEaS program, including:

  1. Creating clusters of defence innovators (academics, industry, and other partners) to conduct leading-edge research and development in areas critical to future defence needs; (Page 78)
  2. Holding competitions that invite innovators to present viable solutions to specific defence and security challenges; (Page 78)
  3. Implementing flexible new procurement mechanisms that allow Defence to develop and test ideas and the ability to follow through on the most promising ones with procurement. (Page 78)

Any questi