Evidence of meeting #88 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 mission.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

General  Retired) Raymond Henault (Former Chairman, NATO Military Committee (2005-2008), and former Chief of Defence Staff of Canada (2001-2005), Royal Canadian Air Force (1968-2008), As an Individual
Lieutenant-General  Retired) Charles Bouchard (Former NATO Commander of Operation Unified Protector, As an Individual
Kevin J. Scheid  General Manager, NATO Communications and Information Agency, As an Individual

9:50 a.m.

LGen (Ret'd) Charles Bouchard

When we look at defending this country, we look at having a force that's strong at home and in North America. But really the true defence of this country is also about not waiting until it gets to our border. It's forward defence, as far forward as possible. NATO offers us this vehicle to do that through an international force that not only acts on article 5, but also—

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Do you mean that we rely on NATO quite a bit?

9:50 a.m.

LGen (Ret'd) Charles Bouchard

No, I think it's a team effort. It's to know that we work together.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Would you say the United States or the United Kingdom would say that NATO is a cornerstone of their defence policy?

9:50 a.m.

LGen (Ret'd) Charles Bouchard

It's difficult for me to talk on behalf of another country as they see it, but I can tell you from my experience that the U.K. would certainly say so, yes, and the United States would say so as well. It's part of this insurance policy that comes with having 28 partners.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

So it's an important partnership.

Thank you.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

Thank you.

MP Alleslev, go ahead. We're now at five-minute questions.

March 27th, 2018 / 9:55 a.m.

Liberal

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

Thank you very much.

Thank you, of course, Kevin, for travelling so far. I would like to leverage some of the conversation we had with my colleague around procurement and NCIA. Part of the strength of the alliance, of course, is the integration of 29 countries, not just governments or militaries but also our industrial base, because we really do not have any ability to project power or capability without our industrial base. Therefore, part of the committee's responsibility is to ensure that we are supporting Canadian defence industries to be able to put their best foot forward and be successful in this regard.

I have certainly heard that there's a sense that we're returning to “fortress Europe” and that it's Europe for Europeans, and the European industrial base is, perhaps, not as open and welcoming, shutting out Canadian companies. I understand that 6.6% is Canada's contribution to the common funding. I know that our receipt of contracts has not been commensurate with that proportion. Of course I know that's not how it works, because it is an open and competitive process. However, perhaps we could be doing more. We have great Canadian companies, certainly, in the command and control and information space.

My question to you is this. What can Canada do to enhance its potential for industry success, and what are the top three barriers to that success that you're hearing from Canadian industry?

Then I would like to have that same question answered, if I could, by both of the other colleagues, because of course you've seen it from both sides and have a very good perspective to contribute on this topic.

9:55 a.m.

General Manager, NATO Communications and Information Agency, As an Individual

Kevin J. Scheid

Thank you very much. It's a great question.

Let me say that 6.6% is a substantial investment by any NATO nation into common-funded programs. I've talked with industry in the past 48 hours about these issues. What's holding them back? I'd say one of the top barriers is the geography and time zones. That affects the American industries as well. Two, it takes a long time to figure out the NATO procurement processes. It's a bureaucratic process that takes time. To understand that, you have to get involved in it; you have to work it through. To do that, you have to spend money and invest in actually being present in Brussels at committee meetings and to talk with your delegation.

Maybe a third area is just that it takes investment, more investment than companies, particularly small and medium-sized companies, have to make in an international competition. What can Canada do to enhance its competitive balance? One, you have an extremely effective ambassador, Kerry Buck. I spoke with her just before my trip about engaging with industry, and she's already been doing that and encouraged me to talk with industry while I was here, which I'm doing. You also want to make sure that you have a national technical expert engaged.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

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

Do we have one now at NCIA, or did we perhaps have one who's no longer there?

9:55 a.m.

General Manager, NATO Communications and Information Agency, As an Individual

Kevin J. Scheid

I believe there's one there on a part-time basis. I don't have the exact details on that. It's important to have somebody on the ground who can help translate NATO capabilities and needs into an industrial discussion. That doesn't necessarily need to be someone from the Department of National Defence. It could be someone from your trade and industry ministries as well.

I'll leave it at that.

9:55 a.m.

Liberal

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

Thank you.

Gentlemen?

9:55 a.m.

Gen (Ret'd) Raymond Henault

I can add a few comments.

You've hit on something that's been an issue for a long time, certainly in my time in NATO. Both in my time here as the chief, but particularly when I was there in Brussels, it was clear that Canadian companies were probably not getting as much work as they probably could, and in terms of the contributions or the amounts of money that are invested in NATO and the return on investment, it's certainly not as high as some of the European nations. So I would agree with that.

I would say that Canada has lots to offer. It has great capability, but as Kevin has already said, I think one of the key ways that Canada can get that much more exposure is by being present. The companies that have been successful in Europe, especially in the NATO fora, have been those companies that are visible, that have established themselves on the ground in Brussels, or in Europe in particular, that have been visible from that perspective, and that have participated in committees. That's the one that I really wanted to hit on, because there is the NATO Industrial Advisory Group and things of that nature, where Canada can be visible. It already has contributed to many of the committees in NATO, not least the cyber committees and developing a vision for that.

That's how Canada can get that much more exposure and hopefully more business in NATO.

10 a.m.

Liberal

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

Did we run out of time?

10 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

Yes. You're over time.

MP Yurdiga.

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I'd like to welcome our special guests here today.

We hear a lot about Russia, the invasion of Ukraine and all the shenanigans they are playing with fake news and cyber-attacks, but we hear very little about North Korea and Iran. I'm concerned about North Korea. They're always testing their ballistic missiles.

Are we spending any time looking at the what-if scenario, if North Korea does do something we do not want them to do? Can you just comment on a general basis?

10 a.m.

Gen (Ret'd) Raymond Henault

Perhaps I can just say a couple of words.

I would say that you're correct. I mean, there is an issue with countries that have a capability, or at least a perceived capability, like North Korea, or Iran for that matter. The very reason the NATO missile defence shield was established, was recommended or at least offered by the U.S. and now established with the onshore capability, Aegis capability, in Romania, as I recall, was to protect against a rogue missile launch, whether it was from Iran or from North Korea. So there is a recognition of the threat, and there have been at least steps taken to try to counter that, if required.

I don't know what the internal workings of NATO are at the moment, or what the internal threat analyses are, but certainly that has to be part of their consideration on a daily basis as well.

Kevin would probably know better. Charlie may also have a view on that.

10 a.m.

LGen (Ret'd) Charles Bouchard

When I look at North Korea, in answer to your question, does one look at it as a threat to North America or is it a threat to Europe? I'll focus on North America.

This is where NORAD steps in. NORAD has a mission of identifying any attack, and one of the tasks I had, and our current deputy commander out there has, is the integrated tactical warning and attack assessment. Within seconds anywhere on earth, somebody can pick up the launch of a missile, and within a certain period of time it must be assessed as to whether it's an attack or not. That's the first part of it. That's the attack part of it.

The second part of it, of course, is the ballistic missile defence for North America, which is in the hands of the U.S., and that's being dealt with. Of course, there is always the third portion of it, which is what retaliation would the U.S. take, which is strictly a sovereign decision by the United States.

I hope I have provided a little bit of an answer to this.

10 a.m.

General Manager, NATO Communications and Information Agency, As an Individual

Kevin J. Scheid

Just to follow up on that, I think of the threat as less of a direct attack from North Korea into Europe as it is North Korea selling technologies, selling capabilities, to actors in the region that might pose a threat.

One of the things we do in missile defence is make sure we can defend Europe from any direction and have the command and control in order to manage those systems that are present. Actually, having intelligence from the NATO nations to help inform that missile defence capability is something we struggle with, and I would open up to Canada as you can help us through your intelligence capabilities.

10 a.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Thank you very much.

Do all NATO countries contribute to NATO's ballistic defence system? How does Canada's contribution compare with other countries'?

10 a.m.

General Manager, NATO Communications and Information Agency, As an Individual

Kevin J. Scheid

The contributions are common-funded capabilities for ballistic missile defence. In the program that NCIA is responsible for, the command and control, that's common-funded, to which Canada would contribute 6.6%. There are U.S. assets in Europe. There are radar systems and so forth that are contributed by the nations.

10 a.m.

Gen (Ret'd) Raymond Henault

I would only add that Canada joined the consensus on missile defence for European nations. That was very clear, and it was very clearly specified that Canada agreed to that because of the sensitivities of North America, of course. I know that it signed up to missile defence for European nations.

In terms of the common funding, I would agree with Kevin. It's all part of the common funding formula, so that would be how Canada would contribute, and not the least through command and control systems.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

David Yurdiga Conservative Fort McMurray—Cold Lake, AB

Thank you.

Canada's doing its part, and I'm very proud of our men and women in uniform. From your perspective, why isn't Canada contributing to our own ballistic missile defence? Obviously, we are depending on Americans, who will have to decide whether they're going to do something or not. Shouldn't Canada take a more active role on the part of funding some of this missile defence for our own nation?

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Stephen Fuhr

I'm going to have to hold it there. We're out of time.

MP Fisher.

10:05 a.m.

Liberal

Darren Fisher Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. I appreciate it.

Kevin, you said that 61 Canadians work for NCIA. I'm interested in how as a country we're engaged with NCIA. Can you give me some specific examples of how Canada engages with NCIA?