Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I am very pleased to be here with you this morning.
As assistant deputy minister for information management and defence chief information officer, I am responsible for ensuring that defence has a reliable, secure, and integrated defence information environment to support business and military operations. I am accountable to the deputy minister for administration and financial and human resources, and I am accountable to the chief of the defence staff for force development and readiness, including cyber.
The director general for cyber is embedded within my organization, and Commodore Feltham, who is with me today, will address you on this subject in more detail in a few minutes.
As you know, Canada's new defence policy represents a new vision: to be strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world. As a G7 country and a founding member of NATO, Canada has a strong interest in global stability. To that end, we will pursue leadership roles and interoperability in our planning and capability development to ensure seamless co-operation with all our allies and partners, particularly NATO.
As DND's representative at the NATO consultation, command, and control board and the NATO agency supervisory board, I am here today to discuss Canada's involvement in NATO as it pertains to information management and information technology, IM/IT. I am supported by experts from across the Department of National Defence who participate in several multinational capability panels. Canada is a significant contributor to the programs that drive IM/IT policy and technical development activities overseen by the board.
Interoperability across the alliance depends in large measure on consistent application of, and compliance with, NATO IM/IT policies. There are three main compliance organizations.
The first is the North Atlantic Council, where Canada is represented by our ambassador to NATO. The council approves the consultation, command, and control policy compliance framework and mandates the NATO enterprise organizations to implement the policies and inform the council on waivers, policy changes, or new policy.
The second is NATO's consultation, command, and control board. It is the senior multinational policy body reporting to the North Atlantic Council and the defence planning committee on policy matters, including the interoperability of NATO networks and national systems. Its focus is on information sharing and interoperability, which includes cyber-defence, information assurance, joint intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance. Consultation, command, and control board strategy signals a commitment to deliver these capabilities and emphasizes the need for the modernization and interoperability of the force contributions of NATO nations and partners.
The third is the agency's supervisory board. It is the organizational governance body of the NATO communications and information agency and is responsive to the North Atlantic Council. The agency supervisory board ensures that the communications and information agency is set up to succeed by governing its resources and its performance. Canada has assumed the chairmanship of the board of this agency for the next two years.
The NATO communications and information agency was established in 2012 to provide NATO-wide IM/IT services, procurement, and support in areas such as command and control systems, tactical and strategic communications, and cyber-defence systems.
In April 2017, my group here in Ottawa hosted a three-day NATO industry conference where 750 experts from across NATO, nations, industry, and academia took a close-up look at NATO business opportunities and procurement specialists. It marked the first time this event was hosted in North America and it set records for its level of participation, all in an effort to give better exposure of Canadian-based industry to NATO business opportunities in our area.
In December 2017 the communications and information agency awarded the Canadian-based MDA, a business unit of Maxar Technologies, a $14.9-million contract to deliver NATO's project Triton, a maritime and control information systems project.
If I were to summarize Canada's focus in its role in IM/IT in NATO, I would prioritize information sharing and interoperability. Canada's new defence policy puts forward 111 initiatives, many of which detail positive steps to enhancing defence intelligence capabilities both at home and in the world. One of the initiatives, initiative 65, is our commitment to improve cryptographic capabilities, information operations capabilities, and cyber capabilities. We will focus on cybersecurity and situational awareness, cyber-threat identification and response, and the development of military-specific cyber and information operations.
At this time, I would like to turn over the floor for opening remarks to Commodore Richard Feltham, who will speak to cybersecurity and our contribution to NATO's cybersecurity efforts.