Playing the long game on SSE implementation
By Brigadier-General Kevin Horgan, Chief of Staff, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff
Each Canadian NHL team has the same objective: to build a team that can win the Stanley Cup, not just one year but on a sustained basis over a number of years. In order to achieve this goal, teams need to take a long-term strategic view, develop a detailed plan, and work within their budget to build a properly equipped, balanced and experienced team. Clearly, this is not easy, as it has been almost 25 years since the last Canadian team hoisted the Cup.
For the implementation of Canada’s Defence Policy Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE), the Department of National Defence (DND) leadership team has taken a similar approach; it is worth noting that we are planning on matching the recent success of Pittsburgh and Chicago, versus the frustration Canadian fans have experienced within this analogy.
SSE establishes a detailed and robust roadmap for the present and future needs of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Establishing the goals was arguably the easy part. Implementing them over a 20-year period in the face of unpredictable changes within the strategic environment is much more complex and challenging.
This will be a team effort, not just within DND, but across the whole government in order to synchronize efforts to match needs and funding for various projects and initiatives over an extended horizon. There will be a natural desire by many to have all the capabilities as soon as possible, but there must be a measured and balanced approach that accounts for our capacity to deliver on SSE while maintaining our already charged agenda of operations and projects.
So, let’s have a look at our team. The owner of the team is clearly the Government and citizens of Canada as represented by the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence. They have high expectations – they have made a meaningful investment in the team and expect us to be transparent, skilled and efficient in delivering on SSE.
The team’s co-presidents are the Deputy Minister (DM) and the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS). They will set the priorities, approve the plans, allocate the resources and monitor progress to achieve the goal. The General Manager and his assistant are the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff (VCDS) and the Senior Associate Deputy Minister (SADM). They develop the detailed plans and put in place the long-term vision to succeed. The coach is the Chief of Programme (C Prog). He is working with the team on a daily basis on the details, adjusting the plans based on initial results, and controlling ice-time to ensure a balanced approach and long-term success.
The players are each Level One and Service across the organization, and they need to execute the game plan. Each of us within the Defence Team are the support staff needed for the success of the players. We provide and maintain the equipment, arrange travel, pay the bills, treat injuries, and provide all support needs so the management team and the players can focus on the plan and succeed.
So, as we approach the one-year anniversary, how are we doing? Similar to the Las Vegas Golden Knights, we have had some early success in our first season. The goal is not just to make the playoffs or win one Cup, but to build an ‘Edmonton of the early 1980s’ type of dynasty that can and will compete each and every year over the next 20 years.
Under C Prog and with the input of our players and coaching staff, we have put in place a comprehensive plan that has been endorsed and funded by management. SSE is composed of more than 125 distinct initiatives. These are assigned to the players to oversee and implement.
Most of our initiatives are enduring; you cannot just work hard for a short period, and then place a check mark beside the box. Take for example Initiative #4 – Increase the Capacity of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School to support the directed CAF growth within SSE. Military Personnel Command (MILPERSCOM) has reviewed and developed the plan, and has started implementation. However, this will need to be adjusted throughout the life of SSE to ensure not only that the capacity is there but also that the quality of the training is maintained and focussed in the right areas. Clearly, the type and focus of recruit training will need to be adapted over the next 20 years.
The updates presented in the image gallery below highlight some of our early wins. As you can see, the team has made great progress. Despite this, hard work remains to be done. Like the Golden Knights, now that we have made it to the post season, playoff success will be the real test. Sustained success over an extended period is the real goal for Canada’s Defence Policy.
SSE Progress Highlights
Click any image below to review the latest SSE progress highlights.
Initiative 3 - Restore the Collège militaire royal in St-Jean as a full degree-granting institution: Royal Military College Saint-Jean (RMC Saint-Jean) is working closely with the Province of Quebec to welcome the first class of university students in August 2018, with an aim to grant university degrees in May 2021 following three years of university studies, for the first time since 1995. Photo: DND/FAC
Initiative 7 - Modernize the CAF Honours and Awards system: The department has submitted a number of recommendations to amend medal criteria to the Government of Canada. Medal eligibility has been expanded, and missions that had not been recognized in the past have been added for eligibility. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 9 - Provide Tax-Relief for CAF members on all named international operations retroactive to January 1, 2017: The criteria have been established and endorsed by the DM/CDS. CANFORGEN 226/17 provides the details, and additional work is underway. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 11 - Appoint a Diversity Champion who will oversee the implementation of all aspects of the Diversity Strategy and Action plan: On April 26, 2018, the DM and CDS announced the appointment of RAdm L. Cassivi, Ms. I Daoust, and CWO C.A. Halpin as Champions for Gender and Diversity for Operations. This appointment represents a shift in how we will achieve change within the CAF and DND, by elevating the dialogue on gender and diversity so their importance and value to operational readiness and effectiveness is understood and embraced. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 12 - Integrate Gender-Based Analysis (GBA+) in all Defence Activities: GBA+ advisors have been hired for DND and the CAF. Training has been available across DND. Consideration of GBA+ requirements are now standardized in decision matrixes, and have already had an impact on operations such as the CAF response to Québec floods last summer (see Related Links). This will certainly be an enduring task that will require continued review and focus to ensure we achieve the stated outcome. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 16 - Implement a Joint National Defence and Veteran’s Affairs Suicide Prevention Strategy: The strategy framework was announced on October 5, 2017. DND and the CAF are committed to delivering on this critical capability to ensure the well-being of our personnel. Photo: Stock
Initiative 19 - Provide a Full Range of Victim and Survivor Support Services to CAF Members: Operation HONOUR has been the focal point for this initiative. Great progress has been made but much remains to be done. The charter for the Sexual Misconduct Response Centre has been signed, and the Centre is working to find the best means to coordinate the various support services from across DND and the CAF. This will be an enduring task that warrants sustained focus. Photo: Stock
Initiative 24 - Develop a Comprehensive Military Family Plan: This plan remains in development; however, additional enduring funding of $6 million per year was put in place in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Military Personnel Command (MILPERSCOM) is working closely with Military Family Resource Centres (MFRCs) from across the country seeking input on how best to improve support to our members and their families. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 30 - Acquire five to six Offshore Patrol Ships: In December 2017, the future HMCS Harry DeWolf’s third and final mega-block was joined to the first two mega-blocks to form the complete vessel. Later in the month, construction of the third vessel, the future HMCS Max Bernays, began.
Initiative 31 - Operate and modernize the four Victoria-class submarines: SSE has stated that the Victoria-Class submarines will undergo incremental modernization in the mid-2020s, which will ensure their continued effectiveness out to the mid-2030s. This activity will improve the submarines’ ability to meet evolving underwater threats through the targeted insertion of new capabilities. The Victoria-Class Modernization project is in the Options Analysis Phase. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiatives 38 (Acquire communications, sustainment, and survivability equipment for the Army light forces, including improved light weight radios and soldier equipment), 41 (Improve the Army’s ability to operate in remote regions by investing in modernized communications, shelters, power generation, advanced water purification systems, and equipment for austere environments), and 42 (Modernize land-based command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems): The Canadian Army will recapitalize many core capabilities such as command, control, and communications systems, night vision systems, and camp sustainment. The Night Vision Systems Modernization Project, Light Force Enhancement Project, and Tactical Communications Modernization Project will enable soldiers to continue to perform their core duties into the future. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 44 - Replace the CF-18 fleet with 88 advanced fighter aircraft to improve Canadian Armed Forces air control and air attack capability: On December 12, 2017, the Government of Canada delivered on its promise to launch an open and transparent competition to replace Canada’s fighter fleet with 88 advanced jets. Since then, Canada established a list of suppliers that have demonstrated their ability to meet Canada’s needs. We have also undertaken a number of engagement activities with these supplier teams, as well as with Canadian industry. As an interim measure, we have received a formal offer for sale of 18 F/A-18 Hornets from the government of Australia. The Australian Government will approach the U.S. Government for approval on the sale and transfer of this equipment. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 56 - Operationalize the newly acquired Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue aircraft fleet: In January 2018, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan toured the future site of the training centre at 19 Wing in Comox, B.C. for the newly acquired fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft fleet. This training centre is expected to create 300 jobs in Canada over the three-year development phase, and approximately 50 jobs for the remainder of the contract duration in the Comox area. Given that the Canadian search and rescue environment is one of the most challenging and diverse in the world, ensuring that the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has a modern fleet and trained aircrews to answer these calls is key to successful rescues. The training centre will include simulators and training devices for RCAF aircrew, search and rescue technicians and maintenance personnel who will operate the C-295W search and rescue aircraft. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 60 - Enhance next generation Special Operations Forces integrated soldier system equipment, land mobility and maritime mobility platforms and fighting vehicle platforms: On January 25, 2018 the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) accepted delivery of its first Ultra-Light Combat Vehicles (ULCV). These vehicles, which were procured from Polaris Industries Limited, will help protect members of Canada’s Special Operations Forces as they conduct missions in challenging environments. They will provide units with fast, mobile transportation over demanding terrain, and have been specifically configured to support rapid deployment by most Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft, particularly the CH-147F Chinook helicopter. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 67 - Invest in Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance platforms, including next generation surveillance aircraft, remotely piloted systems, and space-based surveillance assets: In February 2018, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan announced that Canada will formally rejoin NATO’s Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS). The AWACS program is a key component of several NATO operations to which Canada contributes. Canada intends to support the program and contribute a share of its operating costs. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 72 - Establish a CAF Targeting Capability: Work had been underway on this initiative as SSE was being developed. The CDS has finalized his intent for this capability, and the Chief of Force Development (CFD) has assumed the role to nurture its development with Initial Operational Capability expected in September 2019. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 89 - Create a CAF Cyber Operator Occupation: The Cyber Operator occupation has been created and has accepted its first members. The second selection process is underway, and key trade training is being developed. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 90 - Employ Reservists with specialized skill-sets to fill CAF Cyber Force: The Primary Reserve component of the occupation was recently established, and a program was launched to assess and endorse college programs for the occupation’s foundational training and educational requirements. Some reservists are already employed in cyber capability development. Key engagement with industry and academia is planned for March, and then again early next fiscal year. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 81 - Offer full-time summer employment to Reservists in their first four years commencing in 2018: Starting this summer, Canadian Armed Forces Reservists in their first four years of service can access full-time summer employment to gain unique and relevant work experience while learning distinctive skills. Photo: DND/CAF
Initiative 101 - Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from the 2005 levels by 2030: We launched the Defence Energy and Environment Strategy (DEES) in 2017, which identifies concrete targets to improve the energy efficiency of defence facilities and reduce the environmental impacts of military activities. The DEES will help us reduce our energy waste and environmental footprint, use cleaner energy sources, and better manage our energy and environmental performance. We are also exploring the use of alternative energy options, such as renewable natural gas, to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions at defence buildings. For example, we are partnering with two other departments to buy natural gas in bulk, better track and reduce our natural gas use, and access new sources of green gas to help reduce our carbon footprint. Photo: DND/FAC
Initiative 105 - Invest $1.6 billion over the next 20 years to implement the new Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program: On April 9, 2018, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan launched the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program, and the first call for proposals under the IDEaS Competitive Projects element, which identifies 16 defence and security challenges. IDEaS will help innovators by supporting analysis, funding research, and developing processes that facilitate access to knowledge. It will also support testing, integration, adoption, and acquisition of creative solutions for Canada’s defence and security communities.
Initiative 107 - Align the Canadian Air Identification Zone (CADIZ) with our sovereign airspace: On January 31, 2018, NAV Canada published an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC), which provided advance notice to the aviation community that the CADIZ alignment with Canada’s sovereign airspace is expected to come into effect on May 24, 2018. The new CADIZ will cover the entire Canadian Arctic Archipelago and all approaches to Canadian airspace. Photo: DND/FAC
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