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.

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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.

We will:

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