Mr. Chair and members of the committee, before offering my comments on RCMP Olympic security preparations, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the exceptional support and valued strategic guidance we have received from the office of the coordinator. Deputy Minister Elcock and his staff have been instrumental in navigating some complex matters through the various processes, both at the federal and provincial levels. Mr. Elcock's leadership and experience have contributed to many of our successes to date, and his effort on our behalf is greatly appreciated.
Mr. Chair, as you know, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has been given the responsibility of being the lead agency responsible for the delivery of a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. From the onset it has been our intention to provide a modern sophisticated security package.
Since the tragic events at the Munich Games in 1972 security for the Olympic villages and competition sites has drawn increasing levels of media attention, and this has to a significant extent overshadowed the primary goal of the games, as an expressing of sportsmanship and friendship, and a cultural celebration.
Our overall strategy for the 2010 games is to keep the focus of public attention on the athletes and games, not security, while ensuring that in the background appropriate and effective security is in place. This is a commitment that has been endorsed by the International Olympic Committee and VANOC. Our underlying security philosophy is that the games are an athletic event with security, not a security event with athletes.
In order to deliver on our mandate, the RCMP is taking an intelligence-led planning approach, utilizing sound risk management principles and an integrated security model. In that regard, we have formed the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit, commonly known as the V2010 ISU. The ISU has grown to include representation from many agencies at all three levels of government. Planners from CSIS, CBSA, Transport Canada, the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service, the Vancouver, West Vancouver, Calgary, and Winnipeg police services, and the greater Vancouver transit authority police are examples of a few of the many contributing agencies that make up the ISU. However, since its inception our most prominent partner has been the Canadian Forces.
Mr. Chair, I am pleased to be here today with Vice-Admiral Donaldson and our colleagues from Canada Command, who have provided exceptional support and assistance in the planning of our efforts to achieve the peak of operational preparation. I will to address a few aspects of our collaboration later in my presentation.
There is nothing unusual about police work during the 2010 Winter Games. The role of the police when unlawful acts occur is to optimize public safety, preserve the peace, and enforce the law while upholding the fundamental freedom of peaceful protest and balancing it with the rights of Canadians to enjoy public events in a safe environment. Activities that involve violations of Canadian law may be the subject of police investigations and criminal prosecutions, regardless of where they occur or who is involved.
The RCMP takes a measured approach to policing major events and is committed to the protection of participants, observers, government and law enforcement officials, the general public, and private and public property. We must prepare for numerous eventualities during such events. To do this, we review our programs and past practices as well as current threat and risk assessments to enhance our response to public safety and security during major international events. We work in close partnership with the local police service of jurisdiction and other law enforcement partners to develop appropriate security measures.
Shortly after the city of Vancouver and the resort municipality of Whistler were awarded the 2010 games, the RCMP began planning for the event. Our first planning initiative was to develop a comprehensive concept of operations. To help with this task, we sought the assistance of the Canadian Forces. A CF subject-matter expert was seconded to the RCMP and the relationship has flourished within the ISU ever since. In fact, Lieutenant Colonel Pat Koch continues to serve in the ISU after returning from duty in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Colonel Koch has been joined by many of his military colleagues, both in the ISU and at Joint Task Force Games.
The work of the joint RCMP-CF Olympic planning team has also intensified, in terms of both strategic direction and regional tactics. The members of the senior management team in Major Events and Protective Services meet periodically with members of operations and planning at Canada Command here in Ottawa, while the members of Assistant Commissioner Bud Mercer's Integrated Security Unit do planning jointly with members of the Canadian Forces in the ISU and the Joint Task Force Games.
The RCMP and Canadian Forces relationship has proven invaluable in preparing for the Vancouver 2010 games. The fully integrated planning structure brought the different perspectives together so that the strengths of each approach were combined to form a very effective planning unit. The fully integrated model that has been adopted will be the model going forward on how security operations for major events will be mounted in the future.
One very obvious area where the skills and expertise of the CF has been invaluable to the RCMP is their capability in exercising. There can be no argument in saying that the CF are truly the Canadian experts in planning and carrying out effective exercises with a view to ensuring operational readiness. In regard to planning for the games, from the early involvement of the Canadian Forces experimental centre in designing a command post experiment, to the continued support of Defence Research and Development Canada, the CF has made significant contributions to Olympic security preparations. These include their efforts supporting enhanced inter-agency coordination within the ISU by developing, modelling, and experimenting with a number of command and control and information and intelligence processes, as well as their involvement with the PCO-led bronze, silver, and gold exercises.
Another example would be the planning process itself. The RCMP has incorporated many aspects of the CF's planning model into our own major event management template.
For the first time, the operational plans for specific pieces like the marine security ops plan and the aviation security ops plan are completely integrated; the CF does not have its own operations plan, nor does the RCMP. The plan incorporates both organizations into one comprehensive operations strategy.
Going forward, it is difficult to imagine a major domestic operation in Canada that will not be managed using this fully integrated model, with the RCMP as the lead agency and the CF in support. Indeed, it is once again proving effective in the work being done in preparation for the G-8 summit being held in Huntsville next year. When looking at international operations such as Afghanistan, a similar model is also proving effective with the RCMP in theatre supporting the CF security operation in terms of civilian policing establishment and training.
These Olympic and non-Olympic activities are clearly living examples of the lasting connections and lasting games security legacies that Deputy Minister Elcock made reference to in his introductory comments. I am confident that the integrated planning model and the strong partnerships forged as a result will ensure that we realize our goal of delivering a safe and secure games.
At this time I will ask Vice-Admiral Donaldson to provide you with his opening remarks.