The Army Outlook

Welcome Remarks

April 10th, 08:30, Shaw Centre, Ottawa

Check Against Delivery

Welcome and thank you for coming to our inaugural day of the Canadian Armed Forces Outlooks. This year we march forward with the Army Outlook.

I would like to start off by thanking some individuals who are essential in getting this Army Outlook moving. We were lucky to once again have Steven Noonan as our Army Outlook Chair, who was joined this year by Major Ed Jun, our DND Army Liaison. Today’s events would not be possible without the work of these two individuals. Please join me in a round of applause to thank them for their hard work.

It is CADSI’s pleasure to be the proud host once again this year.

This series has existed for more than twenty years. Every year I am reminded of the importance of a strong partnership and ongoing dialogue between industry, government and our forces.

For industry, the Outlooks provide an important update on the capabilities the Forces are planning to purchase. For the Forces, they provide an opportunity to better understand the ideas and innovations our industry can offer to help carry out the CAF’s roles and responsibilities in Canada and abroad.

For both communities, the Outlooks provide an invaluable networking opportunity to build relationships and form partnerships, the importance of which cannot be over-stated. A strong government-industry partnership is a crucial part of delivering quality products and services to the Forces.

We’ve got a lot to discuss over the next three days. Much has happened this past year on both the domestic and international stages to influence the defence community moving forward.

Here at home, the Government of Canada released its defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged. The policy included commitments to a detailed recapitalization of the CAF that we will soon see in the form of a costed investment plan, the funds to pay for this having been set aside in the government’s fiscal framework.

We saw our industry – an innovative defence sector – held up as one of the government’s five domestic defence priorities. SSE also committed to a “closer partnership” with industry - today is a great representation of that partnership.

Within that policy, we saw an importance placed on having a combat-ready force with recapitalized capabilities such as command, control and communications systems, weapons and soldier night vision systems and logistic vehicle fleets. Interoperability with between the Army, the Air Force and Navy is also a priority. We’ll have a chance to discuss a lot of these initiatives today.

We continue to see our international landscape shift, and with that the priorities of our Armed Forces and the industry that supports them.

Keeping in mind the protection of North America as a continent and the integrated North American Defence Industrial Base, which has been around since the second world war, it is critical that the CAF and Canadian industry see eye to eye. We need to agree in what Canada needs at home to protect itself and remain sovereign in terms of capability, while at the same time contributing our world-class technology to our American friends and allies through defence partnerships.

And speaking of relationships, I was asked a few weeks ago why I have chosen this industry to forge a career in, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that pride in what we do to help keep Canadians safe by way of making our CAF successful is my motivator. It’s my way of contributing to Canada. For this reason, and others along the same lines, we at CADSI will be focusing more than ever on how to showcase the people that are part of our industry, and why they are passionate about what they do.

To this end, we will soon be launching a new campaign, My North My Home. We will be emphasizing the people side of our industry and why we are so proud to work together with the Canadian Forces to help protect our nation. If you’d like to learn more about it, including how to participate, I encourage you to visit the registration desk for more details.

Turning now to our agenda, you will hear directly from senior leaders of the Army as they provide their honest views on their short and medium-term needs. This important information will provide insight towards promoting, planning, and prioritizing new technologies, approaches, and partnerships. It not only helps build industry but helps build a stronger and more secure CAF.

We’ll look forward to a keynote address from the Chief of Force Development, Rear-Admiral Darren Hawco who will discuss the path forward on SSE and emerging technology domains like cyber.

Before we get started, I have a couple of quick reminders:

All CAF slide decks of the presentations will be available next week by logging into the My CADSI Portal.

You may have noticed, or the more enterprising ones of you may have already jumped inside, a private meeting suite that we have for testing. We now offer these at CANSEC so that I don’t have to put on steeled toes to bring VIPs in to visit you in the meeting trailers. All kidding aside, we not only appreciate your feedback on them, but if you have questions about how to get your hands on one, please grab one of the CADSI staff.

And speaking of CANSEC - registration is now open. We look forward to seeing you all there.

Lastly, I would like to call everyone’s attention to a subject that I am sure is equally near and dear to your hearts as it is to mine: the Paddy O’Donnell Mentorship Award. CADSI commemorates this remarkable member of the Royal Canadian Air Force family for his mentorship of younger officers and his contributions to our country, both in uniform and in Canadian industry.

The call for nomination for the Paddy O’Donnell Mentorship Award is now open. If you know of a mentor in the Canadian defence or security business who has provided valuable advice and support to the next generation of industry leaders, please come forward. We have a page on the CANSEC website dedicated to the award with all the nomination details. As was the case last year, this year’s honouree will be announced at CANSEC.

Thank you for your attention this morning. I hope you enjoy today’s discussion with the Army, and for those of you signed up for all Outlooks, the next three days of networking and partnership building.