Backgrounder: Defence Innovation
When great minds are brought together, great ideas happen. Inventions are born. New products are developed, tested, and sold. Businesses, communities, and economies grow.
This is how National Defence is changing the way we innovate.
We will identify needs and compete for the best ideas to take advantage of the most creative concepts that academics, universities, and the private sector can generate.
Complementing traditional, in-house development, Defence will use a model that draws more heavily on academic and private sector research and development (R&D). Through competitive processes we will invest early in promising ideas that will deliver innovative defence solutions. By committing in the development phase through to field testing, Defence can be the first customer for many exciting, new inventions. It could also lead to new global export markets for Canadian innovators and the broader commercialization of some products. This will support a dynamic defence and security sector that includes over 650 firms, supports the employment of more than 63,000 full-time workers, and contributes to $9.4 billion in revenue. This sector employs highly skilled workers in high quality jobs.
These changes will accelerate National Defence's access to innovation, ensuring that Canada keeps pace with the rapid evolution of technology. The advantages will be: access to new solutions; continued operational relevance and interoperability with key partners and allies; as well as the ability to eliminate or mitigate emerging threats and stay ahead of potential adversaries.
Growing the Innovation Process: Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS)
Under Canada's Defence Policy – Strong, Secure, Engaged – we will move to a model that draws more heavily on academic and private sector R&D.
Areas requiring advanced R&D can include surveillance, cyber tools for defence, space, artificial intelligence, remotely piloted systems, data analytics, and solutions to counter improvised explosive devices. Areas such as mental health and operational stress injuries are critical and demand urgent attention.
- Launch Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS), a program which will see $1.6 billion invested over the next 20 years to transform the way Defence generates solutions to complex problems by:
- Creating clusters of defence innovators (academics, universities, industry, and other partners) to conduct leading-edge R&D in areas critical to future defence and security needs;
- Holding competitions that invite innovators to present viable solutions to specific defence and security challenges; and
- Implementing flexible new procurement mechanisms that allow Defence to develop and test ideas, and the ability to follow through on the most promising ideas with procurement.
National Defence will work closely with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC) to align efforts with the Government of Canada's Inclusive Innovation Agenda to grow companies, encourage an entrepreneurial and creative society, take advantage of global scientific excellence, and establish world-leading research clusters. This cooperative approach will build strong economic benefits enhancing Canadian competitiveness in the world market.
Keeping Pace with Advancing Technologies
Now that modern militaries' reach extends into space, the world of advanced computing, and remotely piloted systems, there is a strong need for Defence to increase capabilities in these domains and defend against use of these emerging technologies by potential adversaries.
- Work with partners to promote Canada's national interests on space issues, promote the peaceful use of space, and provide leadership in shaping international norms for responsible behaviour in space;
- Defend and protect Canada's space capabilities, including by working closely with allies and partners to ensure a coordinated approach to assuring continuous access to the space domain and space assets;
- Invest in and employ a range of space capabilities, including space surveillance, space-based earth observation and maritime domain awareness, and global coverage satellite communications (that include the Arctic);
- Conduct cutting-edge R&D on new space technologies in close collaboration with allies, industry, and academia to enhance the resilience of space capabilities and support the CAF's space capability requirements and missions;
- Develop active cyber capabilities and employ them against potential adversaries in support of government-authorized military missions;
- Establish a new Cyber Mission Assurance Program that will protect critical military networks and equipment from cyber-attack by incorporating cyber security requirements into the procurement process;
- Create a new Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Cyber Operator occupation to attract Canada's best and brightest talent and significantly increase the number of military personnel dedicated to cyber functions;
- Use Reservists with specialized skillsets to fulfill roles in the CAF cyber force;
- Invest in a range of remotely piloted systems, including an armed aerial system capable of conducting surveillance and precision strikes;
- Conduct R&D of remotely piloted land, sea, and aerial capabilities in close collaboration with industry and academia; and
- In support of Global Affairs Canada, promote the development of international norms for the appropriate responsible and lawful use of remotely piloted systems.