The Canadian Defence Industry and the Defence Policy Review: At a Crossroads [CANSEC2016D1]

25 May 2016

On 27 April 2016, CADSI’s president appeared before the Minister of National Defence’s Advisory Panel on the Defence Review in Vancouver, to make an important intervention in the Defence Policy Review that the Government of Canada launched in early April.

CADSI recommended to the Minister of National Defence – who participated at the Vancouver roundtable – that the Government of Canada and industry work in partnership to develop a Made in Canada Defence Industrial Policy, tailored to Canada’s unique national security requirements and domestic industrial capabilities.

There is a critical link between the defence of Canada, Canada’s international defence posture and the Canadian defence industrial base. CADSI believes this linkage needs to be understood and considered in the Defence Review.

The efficacy of any defence policy is highly dependent on the ability to procure defence equipment and services. Having security of domestic supply in key defence technologies and services is understood by our allies as important to their independence of action and national security.

This should be a serious consideration in defence policy thinking in this country.

Canadians often assume that if we buy from our allies we can always count on them to deliver what we need, when we need it and at the price we expect. at assumption could be costly if tested in a crisis when we need what our allies need at the same time. is concept of independence of action also applies to how the Department of National Defence (DND) sustains its military equipment. Over the past decade there were a series of procurements in which foreign original equipment manufacturers were contracted to provide both the equipment and maintenance of the fleets over their lifecycle, largely outside of Canada.

This arrangement weakens the government’s leverage if there is a need to move Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) equipment to the front of the line when repairs, life extensions or capability enhancements are required.

Capability development is critical not only for the CAF, but also for the industry that supports the CAF in delivery of that capability. is concept was the foundation behind the National Shipbuilding Strategy.

Canada needs to nurture its defence industrial base, as our allies do, or it will atrophy, with adverse implications for Canada’s independence of action and CAF operational effectiveness.

The recapitalisation of the CAF represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity if Canada adjusts its thinking about defence procurement and its relationship to Canadian sovereignty and economic interests.

Going forward, ensuring the voice of industry is strongly represented as part of the Defence Review is a collaborative e ort between CADSI and its members.

Many members of parliament (MPs) will be hosting roundtables seeking input from constituents and companies in their ridings between now and the end of the consultation period on 31 July 2016. CADSI is working with interested MPs to provide the names of CADSI member companies that MPs could invite to the roundtables they are hosting in their ridings. These MP roundtables will feature a guided discussion focused on the 10 questions found in DND’s public consultation document.

Members can read, share and discuss CADSI’s submission in their community using the #DefenceConsults hashtag. DND will post all submissions it receives on its portal.

■ The Canadian defence industry’s full submission can be found at:

(545 words)