Evidence of meeting #85 for National Defence in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was certainly.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

A. D. Meinzinger  Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence
Derek Joyce  Director General, International Security Policy, Department of National Defence
William Seymour  Chief of Staff Operations, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Department of National Defence

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

Yes, we can do that.

There's a quick follow-up from Larry, and then I can come back to you.

Mr. Maguire.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Before we end here, I want to add my congratulations to the Canadian Armed Forces for the work you're doing in the enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia and the troops on the ground. I have the proud responsibility of representing the region that Canadian Armed Forces Base Shilo is in. I really appreciate working with the lieutenant-colonels who have been there so readily. It's been a great relationship. I look forward to each of the opportunities I have to meet with them, which have been many in the last four years that I've had this role.

I just want to pass that on to you and congratulate you on all of your efforts in Latvia. I know that there are troops who just came back from there in mid-January. I want you to know that we certainly support all those efforts that you're doing in those areas and have been asked to do through NATO. I look forward to continuing opportunities to work with the base at Shilo myself and doing anything else we can do. Congratulations on that.

If there's anything you can do to add to our expansion of the role you're playing there right now, I'll give you the opportunity, if you like, to add any other voice to it.

10:30 a.m.

Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence

MGen A. D. Meinzinger

Thank you for your comments. I know that one of the great opportunities when troops come home to Canada is to greet them; it's the families and the chain of command, but if you ever get the chance to participate in that, I'm sure you'd be welcome to do that. I would highly recommend greeting the folks coming back to a constituency. It does have a meaningful impact on us and on those who recognize that what they did was important. Having MPs and government officials adds to that response in the reception.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

The fun time is during the change of commands, but I've also had the opportunity to be there for funerals of returning members from Afghanistan situations as well.

To have the opportunity to be here today—my colleague Mr. Bezan was not able to be with us—was a pleasure for me. It was an honour to be able to sit in on this committee with my colleagues. I want to commend you for all of that work. I certainly will pass that on. I know that the base works very diligently in regard to the efforts they put forward in the training there as well.

Thank you.

10:35 a.m.

Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence

MGen A. D. Meinzinger

I will personally pass your comments to General Winnick, the Commander of the Army.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

Ms. Alleslev.

March 1st, 2018 / 10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Leona Alleslev Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you very much.

Obviously, I'd also like to reiterate that. There's no question that from corporal to officer cadet to senior officer, our Canadian Armed Forces is pretty incredible. We're recognized around the world. We have great training. We make do when we don't have a lot, and we still deliver incredible capability. You certainly are to be commended, and thank you for that.

I do want to be a little bit pointed in my remarks, because we are here to make recommendations to the government. You've done an outstanding job of telling us really how great things are, but do we as a committee then have no recommendations to give back to the government on where we should be making improvements? As this government and this Prime Minister says, better is always possible.

Please tell us what's not perfect and what recommendations, with respect to Canada's importance to NATO and NATO's importance to Canada, we should be making back to the government as a result of this study.

10:35 a.m.

Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence

MGen A. D. Meinzinger

Any of you want to kick-start this?

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

No pressure.

10:35 a.m.

Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence

MGen A. D. Meinzinger

It's a great question.

10:35 a.m.

Chief of Staff Operations, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Department of National Defence

MGen William Seymour

I'll start.

I mentioned the joint operations symposium we had in the past couple of days. Part of the dialogue there was about agility and innovation within NATO. The NATO command structure review I think is changing, and some things will result from that. That's a recognition that the Cold War ended a long time ago and there was a peace dividend capitalized from that. The threat has changed considerably over that period of time. NATO has recognized the need to respond and react to that, and some changes go with that.

Within the Canadian Forces, and I think within “Strong, Secure, Engaged”, we're actually well postured to link into that, but I would suggest that we need to continue to emphasize the need for agility and innovation within NATO, to be a full part of that, and to lead that, where able, as a country to make sure that NATO moves that along. Ultimately, that has an impact on the bottom line, and our ability to do what NATO exists to do is affected by that.

I'd offer that much.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Leona Alleslev Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Would you say that's equally across the board or, say, in a certain capability like command and control, where we were in the cold war period known as being outstanding experts in that area?

10:35 a.m.

Chief of Staff Operations, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Department of National Defence

MGen William Seymour

I'd say across the board, but in Canada we do leverage our strengths in certain areas. The things that we're working on, joint enablers, that Strong Secure Engaged talks about, those are the self-same areas that NATO is looking to enhance its own capacity to do, be it information operations or strategic communications, and then how that gets leveraged in the new war fight, leveraging intelligence capacity and actually sharing that capacity. We talked a lot yesterday about information networks. The speed of response in this current environment requires that we be well connected and through digital means and secure means we have that capability to plug into NATO and be effective there. The cyber piece, which has been well brought up here today, is certainly an element of that.

10:35 a.m.

MGen Derek Joyce

If I could just add on, there are areas we can improve. One of the areas is within NATO, continuing to advocate for women, peace, and security— and inclusive security. Canada has a voice, in fact, a leadership voice, as you probably heard when you were speaking with Ambassador Buck, in NATO, and it is well respected always, but specifically when we talk about advocating for the development of women, peace, and security roles and the importance of gender in military operations. This is an area we need to focus on. We're taking it very seriously, but we can improve, there's no doubt about that.

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Leona Alleslev Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

That was certainly a challenge I faced when I was in uniform.

Alistair, do you have anything?

10:35 a.m.

Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence

MGen A. D. Meinzinger

Those are great answers from my colleagues. We will need to look to invest in some of these new priorities. I think of the new structures that are establishing themselves. You may be familiar with the new logistics command entity, which I'm sure you would recognize. I think we have great capacity in that particular functional area within the Canadian Armed Forces. Making meaningful contributions into these new structures so we have a Canadian voice, a Canadian presence, I think will be important for us.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

Leona Alleslev Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Thank you very much.

10:40 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

The last question, Mr. Garrison.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

Of course, I want to echo the thanks that others around the table have. We were very privileged to get to visit the forward presence in Latvia and see the real contributions people are making. I've been sitting here today staring at air force uniforms, and I realize, as somebody who represents Canada's Pacific navy, there's one thing we didn't really highlight today. I just want to ask a brief question about that. Something we weren't able to see when we were in Europe was the contribution we've made by having standing naval forces contributing. The timing wasn't right and the ship wasn't in the right place, but the fact that we've had for five consecutive years a ship in place supporting NATO operations is quite significant. I don't think the public is aware of that. The contribution that's being made by the navy, even though it's not from my coast or my base, I think needs to be highlighted.

My question is: how has that contribution been made in terms of interoperability, working with others? What's our role really been there? I don't think we really highlighted that contribution.

10:40 a.m.

Director of Staff, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence

MGen A. D. Meinzinger

Yes, it's great. When we met last, this was one of my recommendations, and maybe it's a future target, to get to a port of call and meet the ship's company and spend some time with them. You would get a great feel for what's being accomplished. I think navies in general are pretty good at coming together and operating on a command net. Just by virtue of how navies function, there's a certain predisposition for interoperability. Our vessel, as I described earlier, in a six-month period does a whole bunch of things. It's providing situational awareness; it's conducting bilateral training, in some cases with non-NATO-flagged vessels. In some cases it's doing anti-submarine warfare. It's providing critical information to the NATO command structure in the context of Russian underwater submarine activity. I think they have been making, and will continue to make, meaningful contributions to the overall NATO mission.

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Great. I just didn't want to let that pass without getting the navy back in the discussion.

10:40 a.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

10:40 a.m.

Chief of Staff Operations, Canadian Joint Operations Command, Department of National Defence

MGen William Seymour

For the record, both General Joyce and I flew the Aurora, so we worked considerably with the navy. We're half navy is what I sense, for the record.

10:40 a.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Okay. Thanks very much.