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  • New, Low-Cost Air Force ISR Drone Prototype Flies 2.5 Days

    December 16, 2019 | International, Aerospace

    New, Low-Cost Air Force ISR Drone Prototype Flies 2.5 Days

    The Air Force Research Laboratory believes it's on to something when it comes to long-endurance drone flight. By THERESA HITCHENS WASHINGTON: While other commercial and military drones have flown longer, the two and a half day flight of the Air Force's latest unmanned aircraft prototype this week does represent a kind of breakthrough for the US military: proving that commercial technology can be adapted to build affordable long-endurance and highly capable surveillance drones. And the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Dayton, Ohio is convinced that the new, autonomous Ultra-Long Endurance Aircraft Platform (Ultra LEAP) will be able to stay in the sky for longer in future flight tests. “Developing a UAS with this level of endurance is an incredible achievement for future warfighting and battlefield success,” said Paul Litke, the AFRL project engineer for Ultra LEAP. In an Air Force announcement yesterday, Litke explains that since the system employs many commercial off-the-shelf components, Ultra LEAP will dramatically reduce the costs for high performance intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) drones. The “2.5-day Ultra LEAP mission is a significant milestone in solving the tyranny of distance problem for ISR systems,” said Dr. Alok Das, director of AFRL's Center for Rapid Innovation (CRI). “It will provide immediate benefit to our warfighters while at the same time paving the path for future low-cost, multi-day endurance ISR systems.” Ultra LEAP is based on a commercially available “sport-class” commercial airframe — sport aircraft cost anywhere between $20,000 and $140,000. An AFRL spokesman told Breaking D today that the service could not release the name of the company providing the chassis “for security reasons.” The basic airframe was souped up by AFRL to carry a “customizable suite of ISR tools” that feature “secure, easy to use navigation employing anti-jam GPS and full global operational access via a satellite-based command and control and high-rate ISR data relay link.” The aircraft body was further “converted to a fully automated system with autonomous takeoff and landing capabilities,” the press release said. The high level of automation it provides will enable greatly reduced operator training requirements for the Air Force. Smaller support crews will also lead to lower operating costs, according to AFRL. “As the Air Force balances current readiness with long-term modernization, Ultra LEAP represents an affordable approach that supports both existing and future force needs,” said Maj. Gen. William Cooley, AFRL commander, adding that the “enhanced UAS capabilities along with the cost savings offers the military a winning solution.” The Ultra LEAP effort evolved from an earlier AFRL experiment, just called LEAP but with the A standing for aircraft, started in 2016. Then AFRL Commander Robert McMurry testified to Congress in September 2016 that the program, managed by CRI, was designed to provide “a revolutionary, low-cost, low acoustic signature, persistent aerial ISR capability to address Combatant Command and U.S. Special Forces ISR gaps by converting a proven, fuel-efficient Light Sport Aircraft into an UAS.” Four of the original LEAP aircraft were deployed in early 2016 in conjunction with Special Operations Command, he said. McMurry added that “LEAP significantly bends today's ISR cost-performance curve and enables needed counter- insurgency capability and ISR capacity at a fraction of the cost of comparably performing systems.” The original LEAP was capable of missions up to 40 hours and has completed more than 18,000 combat flight hours. Using the same commercial customization strategy as the original LEAP, CRI developed Ultra LEAP from concept to first flight in less than 10 months, the AFRL release explained, and the system could be ready for operational fielding as soon as 2020. The Air Force is interested in developing a range of long-endurance ISR drones, and in August 2018 issued its Next Generation Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Dominance Flight Plan. The plan sets out the service strategy for “a shift from a manpower-intensive permissive environment to a human-machine teaming approach in a peer threat environment.” For example, the Air Force issued a $48 million contract to Boeing's Aurora Flight Sciences subsidiary for its Orion drone in January 2018. Orion has an endurance of 80 hours. In May of this year, AFRL worked jointly with Lockheed Martin to enhance its Condor eXtended Endurance and Payload (XEP) — improving its endurance from two hours to four. The team also improved the small drone's fuselage to accommodate multiple payload types, according to a May 22 Lockheed Martin press release. The current record for the longest flight time by an unmanned aerial vehicle is held by the pseudo-satellite (an airframe that flies very, very high in the stratosphere) called Zephyr, developed by Airbus Defense and Space. It flew for more than 25 days in the fall of 2018. The US military's most famous drone, the armed MQ-1 Predator made by General Atomics, has an endurance of 40 hours.

  • Littoral Combat Ship 19 (St. Louis) Completes Acceptance Trials

    December 16, 2019 | International, Naval

    Littoral Combat Ship 19 (St. Louis) Completes Acceptance Trials

    MARINETTE, Wis., Dec. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) 19, the future USS St. Louis, completed Acceptance Trials in Lake Michigan. Now that trials are complete, the ship will undergo final outfitting and fine-tuning before delivery. LCS 19 is the tenth Freedom-variant LCS designed and built by the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)-led industry team and is slated for delivery to the Navy early next year. "The LCS fleet is growing in numbers and capability, and LCS 19's completion of acceptance trials means the Navy will shortly have 10 Freedom-variant fast, focused-mission ships in the fleet," said Joe DePietro, Lockheed Martin vice president and general manager, Small Combatants and Ship Systems. "As each Freedom-variant hull deploys, we seek out and incorporate fleet feedback and lessons learned to roll in capabilities for new hulls. As a result, LCS 19 includes a solid-state radar, upgraded communications suite, increased self-defense capabilities and topside optimization, among other updates." In total, there are more than 500,000 nautical miles under the keel of Freedom-variant LCS. The Freedom-variant LCS has completed three successful deployments with a fourth ongoing. In October, LCS 7 (USS Detroit) deployed to the U.S. Southern Command supporting the Martillo campaign – a multinational effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in Central American coastal waters. LCS is designed to deliver speed to capability and to grow as the missions it serves evolve. Today, the Freedom-variant LCS delivers advanced capability in anti-submarine, surface and mine countermeasure missions. The Freedom-variant LCS is targeted for warfighting upgrades to enhance situational awareness and evolve the ship's self-defense capabilities. These upgrades are already underway – LCS computing infrastructures are receiving cyber upgrades and over-the-horizon missiles are being installed in support of upcoming deployments. Unique among combat ships, the focused-mission LCS is designed to support mine countermeasures, anti-submarine and surface warfare missions and is easily adapted to serve future and evolving missions. The Freedom-variant LCS is: Flexible — Forty percent of the hull is easily reconfigurable, able to integrate Longbow Hellfire Missiles, 30 mm guns, and manned and unmanned vehicles designed to meet today's and tomorrow's missions. Lethal — LCS is standard equipped with Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM) and a Mark 110 gun, capable of firing 220 rounds per minute. Fast — LCS is capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots. Automated — LCS has the most efficient staffing of any combat ship. "Progress on the Freedom-variant program and LCS 19's achievement would not be possible without the expertise and effort of our shipbuilders at Fincantieri Marinette Marine, and our strong partnership with Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Navy," said Jan Allman, Fincantieri Marinette Marine president and CEO. "We are dedicated to delivering an effective, capable product to our armed forces."

  • Le ministère de la Défense devra « moderniser » sa collaboration avec les Américains

    December 16, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Le ministère de la Défense devra « moderniser » sa collaboration avec les Américains

    La lettre de mandat du ministre canadien de la Défense, Harjit Sajjan, met de l'avant la mission délicate de « moderniser » le Commandement de la défense aérospatiale de l'Amérique du Nord (NORAD) avec les États-Unis. Revoir les engagements du Canada dans la défense des côtes et de l'espace aérien nord-américain avec les États-Unis sera particulièrement délicat dans le contexte d'un gouvernement minoritaire. Selon la lettre de mandat reçue par le ministre, il est nécessaire de développer une meilleure surveillance, une meilleure défense et une meilleure réponse dans le Nord et dans les voies aériennes et maritimes menant au Canada, de renforcer notre défense continentale, de protéger les droits et la souveraineté du Canada et de démontrer un leadership international pour le respect dans la navigation au sein des eaux arctiques. En 2017, alors que Donald Trump venait d'être élu président des États-Unis, la modernisation du NORAD s'était retrouvé au menu de sa première rencontre avec le premier ministre canadien, Justin Trudeau. undefined Commentaires Radio-Canada Publié le 13 décembre 2019 La lettre de mandat du ministre canadien de la Défense, Harjit Sajjan, met de l'avant la mission délicate de « moderniser » le Commandement de la défense aérospatiale de l'Amérique du Nord (NORAD) avec les États-Unis. Revoir les engagements du Canada dans la défense des côtes et de l'espace aérien nord-américain avec les États-Unis sera particulièrement délicat dans le contexte d'un gouvernement minoritaire. Selon la lettre de mandat reçue par le ministre, il est nécessaire de développer une meilleure surveillance, une meilleure défense et une meilleure réponse dans le Nord et dans les voies aériennes et maritimes menant au Canada, de renforcer notre défense continentale, de protéger les droits et la souveraineté du Canada et de démontrer un leadership international pour le respect dans la navigation au sein des eaux arctiques. En 2017, alors que Donald Trump venait d'être élu président des États-Unis, la modernisation du NORAD s'était retrouvé au menu de sa première rencontre avec le premier ministre canadien, Justin Trudeau. Pour le moment, les responsables de la Défense tant américains que canadiens analysent encore les différentes options à proposer à leur gouvernement respectif. Avant le déclenchement de la dernière campagne électorale canadienne, le ministre Sajjan avait déclaré qu'aucune entente n'avait encore été conclue entre le Canada et les États-Unis à ce sujet, laissant sous-entendre que le sujet était politiquement sensible entre les deux pays. Des experts estiment que la modernisation du réseau de stations radar entre les deux pays pourrait coûter 11 milliards de dollars, une facture que devra être assumée à 40 % par le Canada. Le renouveau du NORAD remettra de l'avant la participation du Canada au bouclier antimissile américain. Le Canada avait refusé de s'y joindre en 2005, quand Paul Martin dirigeait le pays. Avec les informations de Murray Brewster de CBC News

  • Canadian NORAD Region hosts first Arctic Airpower Seminar

    December 16, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Canadian NORAD Region hosts first Arctic Airpower Seminar

    Two senior officers from the New York Air National Guard of the United States Air Force visited Winnipeg, Man., on Nov. 19 and 20, 2019, as part of the first official 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region (1 CAD/CANR) Arctic Airpower Seminar. Col Michele Kilgore and Col Clifford Souza, commanders of the 109th Airlift Wing and 109th Operations Group respectively, engaged in discussions with a diverse group of operators, specialists and advisors to talk about training and operational opportunities that would benefit the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and its United States Air Force (USAF) allied partners. BGen Ed “Hertz” Vaughan, deputy commander of CANR and deputy Combined/Joint Forces Air Component commander for 1 CAD/CANR, hosted the two-day seminar. A partnership last September between the RCAF and the 109th Airlift Wing executing Operation Boxtop, the mission to bring supplies to Canadian Forces Station Alert in Nunavut, prompted him to invite members of the 109th Airlift Wing to the seminar to exchange information on processes and objectives. “The Arctic is critically important to the security and defence of North America, and our ability to survive and operate in the Arctic domain are essential parts of our daily mission at 1 CAD/CANR,” said Vaughan. “We established this series of seminars to help build relationships and deep dive into the specific of polar logistics and sustainment. Forging partnerships across Arctic communities, mission stakeholders, and allied forces are requirements for success.” The RCAF is no stranger to bi-national operations. Every day, military personnel and defence team members from Canada and the United States work together to protect and defend North American airspace through the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) mission. Comprising more than 40 per cent of Canada's land mass (and 75 per cent of Canada's coastline) with about 120,000 inhabitants, the Arctic is undergoing significant change. Retreating ice cover is opening the way for increased shipping, tourism, and resource exploration, increasing interest in the region. Following the presentations and discussion sessions, seminar attendees visited with members of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, a unit that routinely deploys north in support of Canada's NORAD and search and rescue commitments, to learn more about the role they play in the daily delivery of air power in the North. “The Arctic can be a complex, harsh and unforgiving location to operate in if one isn't prepared to face its challenges,” said Vaughan. “These seminars permit us to learn from our partners and allies as we continue developing the skills, technology, and relationships to work effectively in a polar environment. I look forward to our next seminar in Yellowknife, focused on energy security at remote locations, and many more seminars to come. “

  • Trudeau directs ministers to cement fighter deal

    December 16, 2019 | Local, Aerospace

    Trudeau directs ministers to cement fighter deal

    by Ken Pole The long-overdue replacement of the Royal Canadian Air Force's fleet of Boeing CF-188 Hornets was highlighted Dec. 13 in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's mandate letters to his new cabinet. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, who had the fighter program in his sights throughout his first four years in the portfolio, and Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand, a newcomer to Parliament, have been directed to co-operate on finally getting a contract. There are three remaining contenders: Lockheed Martin's F-35A Lightning II, Boeing's F/A-18 E/F Super Hornet, and the Saab Gripen E/F. Trudeau's letter to Sajjan makes it clear that new fighters would be part of a renewed commitment not only to national defence, but also to the continental umbrella afforded by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) as well as meeting international commitments through the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). While cabinet veteran Navdeep Bains, minister of Innovation, Science & Industry, is not mentioned in Sajjan's letter, he is referred to in Anand's letter, mainly due to his ministry's oversight of industrial spinoffs from the fighter contract.

  • L'US Navy souhaiterait racheter 22 avions de chasse à la Confédération

    December 16, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval

    L'US Navy souhaiterait racheter 22 avions de chasse à la Confédération

    Selon la SonntagsZeitung, le président américain Donald Trump veut acheter des anciens avions de combat Tiger de l'armée suisse. Un accord serait sur le point d'être conclu. Quelque 40 millions de dollars sont prévus pour ce rachat dans le budget 2020 de Donald Trump, explique le journal alémanique. La livraison des Tiger F5, des jets vieux de 35 ans, serait prévue dès janvier 2021. Selon Armasuisse, des discussions ont eu lieu cet été, mais il faut encore le feu vert du Congrès et du Sénat au budget de la Défense pour conclure l'accord. Même s'ils ne sont plus en service, les avions coûtent encore un demi-million de francs par an pour l'entretien et le stationnement. Des jets suisses pour les entraînements La Marine américaine a déjà acheté 44 F5 à la Suisse entre 2002 et 2009 à des fins de formation. Le prix par engin était alors d'un demi-million de dollars, contre 1,8 million pour les avions prévus dans l'accord en préparation, détaille encore la SonntagsZeitung. >> Lire aussi: Les anciens Tiger F5 suisses font le bonheur de l'armée américaine Le concept de défense aérienne Air2030 prévoit le renouvellement de la flotte suisse et du système de défense sol-air de longue portée entre 2025 et 2030. Les Tiger F5 encore en service ne sont opérationnels que de jour et par bonne visibilité, alors que les F/A-18 arrivent au terme de leur durée d'utilisation dans dix ans au plus tard. Pour les remplacer, quatre constructeurs sont en lice: le français Dassault (Rafale), l'européen Airbus (Eurofighter) et les américains Boeing (F/A-18 Super Hornet) et Lockheed-Martin (F-35A).

  • Defence minister says Canada 'very fortunate' to have Vance as defence chief

    December 16, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Defence minister says Canada 'very fortunate' to have Vance as defence chief

    OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has come out in support of Canada's top military general, saying the country is "very fortunate" to have someone like Gen. Jonathan Vance leading the Canadian Armed Forces. The comments come amid questions over whether the newly re-elected Liberal government plans to replace Vance, who was first appointed chief of the defence staff by Stephen Harper and is now in his fifth year in the position. "When it comes to the chief of defence staff, this is a decision for the prime minister and so we'll reflect on that and make a decision accordingly," Sajjan told The Canadian Press during a wide-ranging interview last week. However, he added, "Canada has been very fortunate to have somebody like Gen. Vance in this role at a very important time." Vance is already one of the longest-serving defence chiefs in Canadian history, and his lengthy tenure has coincided with a number of significant decisions and developments for the Armed Forces - both positive and negative. Those include significant new investments in the military through a new defence policy, the deployment of troops to Iraq, Mali and Latvia as well as efforts to crackdown on sexual misconduct and recruit more women. Yet he has also faced his share of criticism over the years, including over his decision to suspend Mark Norman in 2017, more than a year before the now-retired vice-admiral was charged with breach of trust. The case was eventually dropped. Vance also found himself under fire for the way he handled replacing Norman as the military's second-in-command last year, which saw significant upheaval and instability in the Armed Forces' senior ranks. The defence chief has also been accused of being too supportive of controversial decisions by the Liberal government such as its plan to buy interim fighter jets while some in the Forces have grumbled about a domineering style. While he wouldn't say whether the government planned to replace Vance any time soon, Sajjan said the general has brought important qualities and attributes to the high-profile and difficult position over the past four-plus years. Those include Vance's experience having served in Afghanistan and elsewhere and the work that he put into helping the government develop its defence policy, which was released in June 2017. "I'm very happy with the service that Gen. Vance has given," Sajjan said. "There's only one four-star general in our Canadian Armed Forces. You don't get there easily and every single one brings a unique experience. And Gen. Vance has brought very important experience during a very important time." Speculation about Vance's future has been mounting if for no other reason than the amount of time he has spent as Canada's top military general, said defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. Exactly who would replace him is an open question, however. Norman's suspension and subsequent retirement contributed to a wider series of changes within the top ranks that have left many senior commanders relatively new in their positions. The reality is that Vance and Sajjan, who has served as defence minister since the Liberals were first elected to power in fall 2015, have emerged as the "constants" at the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces, said Perry. Given that and indications the Liberals do not have big plans to dramatically switch directions or roll out new initiatives for the military, "I think there's going to be a lot of continuity," he added. Which on the surface would suggest no immediate changes at the top. "Certainly the signals the government has sent to this point of time look a lot more like continuity and continuing to implement the policy and the framework that they set in place during the last Parliament." This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 15, 2019.

  • Slower-than-expected economic growth to help Canada's defence spending numbers

    December 16, 2019 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Slower-than-expected economic growth to help Canada's defence spending numbers

    Lee Berthiaume OTTAWA -- The federal government is predicting Canadian defence spending will inch closer to its NATO promises in the coming years than originally expected -- though not because Ottawa is planning to send new money the military's way. All NATO members, including Canada, agreed in 2014 to work toward spending the equivalent of two per cent of their gross domestic products on defence within the next decade as the military alliance sought to share the burden of defending from new threats like Russia and China. Two years ago, when they unveiled their defence policy, the Liberals said the government would hit 1.4 per cent by 2024-25. But Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan this week said, without providing details, that defence spending would instead reach 1.48 per cent of GDP. An increase of that size could represent close to $2 billion more per year for the military. However, the Department of National Defence told The Canadian Press that there are no new investments on the horizon for the Canadian Armed Forces beyond what's already in the Liberals' policy. Instead, Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthiller attributed the change to slower-than-expected economic growth over the next few years and more spending on non-military specific activities like veterans' benefits and the Canadian Coast Guard. The government has included such activities in its calculations since 2017 to try to address complaints from the U.S. and other NATO allies that Canada was not investing enough in its military. NATO approved the change. "Approximately two-thirds of the increase from 1.40 to 1.48 per cent is due to increased (other government department) forecasts and one-third due to fluctuating GDP forecasts," Le Bouthillier said in an email. Canada currently spends about 1.31 per cent of GDP -- a common measurement of a country's economic output -- on defence and has no plan to reach NATO's two per cent benchmark, a fact that has made it a target for U.S. President Donald Trump. Trump labelled Canada "slightly delinquent" on defence spending during a meeting in London last week in which he publicly grilled Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about Canada's number before subsequently stepping up his calls for the government to meet the NATO target. "He's not paying two per cent and he should be paying two per cent," Trump said during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Dec. 4. "It's Canada. They have money and they should be paying two per cent." The Liberal government has in fact refused to say whether it believes in the two-per-cent target and has instead repeatedly pointed to Canada's contributions of forces and equipment to NATO missions in Latvia, Iraq and other places as a better measurement of its contributions to the military alliance. The spending target is an imperfect way of measuring how much individual countries are contributing, said Stefanie von Hlatky, an expert on NATO and the military at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont. But all allies are facing pressure to show Trump that they are stepping up on defence spending, she said, which is doubly true for Trudeau after his meeting with the U.S. president in London. "I think there's a little bit of pressure now to maybe update those numbers and probably some rejoicing that it looks better on paper," von Hlatky said. "If we're looking to impress Trump with these minor adjustments, maybe it's all for naught. But there is definitely added pressure with every NATO meeting and NATO summit. And we know it's going to come up as long as Trump is president." Conservative defence critic James Bezan accused the Liberal government of playing a numbers game to make Canada look better rather than investing in the Armed Forces. "It's a sad state of affairs for our military heroes when Justin Trudeau can only improve defence spending figures by engineering a made-in-Canada recession and playing a shell game with other departments' budgets to inflate the numbers," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Dec. 13, 2019.

  • Minister of National Defence Mandate Letter

    December 16, 2019 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    Minister of National Defence Mandate Letter

    Dear Mr. Sajjan: Thank you for agreeing to serve Canadians as Minister of National Defence. On Election Day, Canadians chose to continue moving forward. From coast to coast to coast, people chose to invest in their families and communities, create good middle class jobs and fight climate change while keeping our economy strong and growing. Canadians sent the message that they want us to work together to make progress on the issues that matter most, from making their lives more affordable and strengthening the healthcare system, to protecting the environment, keeping our communities safe and moving forward on reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. People expect Parliamentarians to work together to deliver these results, and that's exactly what this team will do. It is more important than ever for Canadians to unite and build a stronger, more inclusive and more resilient country. The Government of Canada is the central institution to promote that unity of purpose and, as a Minister in that Government, you have a personal duty and responsibility to fulfill that objective. That starts with a commitment to govern in a positive, open and collaborative way. Our platform, Forward: A Real Plan for the Middle Class, is the starting point for our Government. I expect us to work with Parliament to deliver on our commitments. Other issues and ideas will arise or will come from Canadians, Parliament, stakeholders and the public service. It is my expectation that you will engage constructively and thoughtfully and add priorities to the Government's agenda when appropriate. Where legislation is required, you will need to work with the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and the Cabinet Committee on Operations to prioritize within the minority Parliament. We will continue to deliver real results and effective government to Canadians. This includes: tracking and publicly reporting on the progress of our commitments; assessing the effectiveness of our work; aligning our resources with priorities; and adapting to events as they unfold, in order to get the results Canadians rightly demand of us. Many of our most important commitments require partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and Indigenous partners, communities and governments. Even where disagreements may occur, we will remember that our mandate comes from citizens who are served by all orders of government and it is in everyone's interest that we work together to find common ground. The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs is the Government-wide lead on all relations with the provinces and territories. There remains no more important relationship to me and to Canada than the one with Indigenous Peoples. We made significant progress in our last mandate on supporting self-determination, improving service delivery and advancing reconciliation. I am directing every single Minister to determine what they can do in their specific portfolio to accelerate and build on the progress we have made with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples. I also expect us to continue to raise the bar on openness, effectiveness and transparency in government. This means a government that is open by default. It means better digital capacity and services for Canadians. It means a strong and resilient public service. It also means humility and continuing to acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect; they expect us to be diligent, honest, open and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest. As Minister, you are accountable for your style of leadership and your ability to work constructively in Parliament. I expect that you will collaborate closely with your Cabinet and Caucus colleagues. You will also meaningfully engage with the Government Caucus and Opposition Members of Parliament, the increasingly non-partisan Senate, and Parliamentary Committees. It is also your responsibility to substantively engage with Canadians, civil society and stakeholders, including businesses of all sizes, organized labour, the broader public sector and the not-for-profit and charitable sectors. You must be proactive in ensuring that a broad array of voices provides you with advice, in both official languages, from every region of the country. We are committed to evidence-based decision-making that takes into consideration the impacts of policies on all Canadians and fully defends the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. You will apply Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) in the decisions that you make. Canada's media and your engagement with them in a professional and timely manner are essential. The Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, ask necessary questions and contribute in an important way to the democratic process. You will do your part to continue our Government's commitment to transparent, merit-based appointments, to help ensure that people of all gender identities, Indigenous Peoples, racialized people, persons with disabilities and minority groups are reflected in positions of leadership. As Minister of National Defence, you will continue to ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces are an agile, multi-purpose and combat-ready military, operated by highly trained, well-equipped women and men, supported by their Government and by fellow Canadians. This responsibility is rooted in the continued implementation of Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada's Defence Policy. I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory and Cabinet processes to deliver on your top priorities. In particular, you will: Ensure the Canadian Armed Forces have the capabilities and equipment required to uphold their responsibilities through continued implementation of Strong, Secure, Engaged, including new procurements and planned funding increases. Reinforce Canada's commitment to our bilateral and multilateral defence partnerships in order to defend Canadian sovereignty, protect North America and enhance international security: Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to ensure that any deployment of the Canadian Armed Forces aligns with Canada's national interest, our multilateral commitments and the Government's policy objectives; Continue Canada's strong contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and work with the United States to ensure that the North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) is modernized to meet existing and future challenges, as outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged; Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to expand Canada's support for United Nations peace operations, including with respect to new investments in the women, peace and security agenda, conflict prevention and peacebuilding; Ensure the continued effectiveness of Canadian Armed Forces deployments, including Operation IMPACT in the Middle East, Operation NEON in the Asia-Pacific, NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence in Latvia, the NATO Mission in Iraq and Operation UNIFIER in Ukraine; and Expand Canadian defence cooperation and training assistance, in particular by drawing on the expertise of the Canadian Armed Forces to help other countries at greater risk of disasters due to climate change. Work with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to manage the competitive process to select a supplier and enter into a contract to construct Canada's fighter aircraft fleet. Work with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement on the renewal of the Royal Canadian Navy Fleet, continuing the revitalization of the shipbuilding industry, creating middle class jobs and ensuring Canada's Navy has the modern ships that it needs. Support the Minister of Public Services and Procurement to bring forward analyses and options for the creation of Defence Procurement Canada, to ensure that Canada's biggest and most complex National Defence and Canadian Coast Guard procurement projects are delivered on time and with greater transparency to Parliament. This priority is to be developed concurrently with ongoing procurement projects and existing timelines. Work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister of Northern Affairs and partners through the Arctic and Northern Policy Framework to develop better surveillance (including by renewing the North Warning System), defence and rapid-response capabilities in the North and in the maritime and air approaches to Canada, to strengthen continental defence, protect Canada's rights and sovereignty and demonstrate international leadership with respect to the navigation of Arctic waters. Continue to improve support for the women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces and to ensure a workplace characterized by professionalism, inclusion and valuing diversity: Work with senior leaders of the Canadian Armed Forces to establish and maintain a workplace free from harassment and discrimination; Create a new $2,500 tax-free benefit every time a military family relocates, to help with retraining, recertification and other costs of finding new work; and Achieve the goal of 25 per cent of Canadian Armed Forces members being women by 2026. With the support of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, introduce a new framework governing how Canada gathers, manages and uses defence intelligence, as recommended by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians. Work with the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence to strengthen partnerships between the Department of National Defence and Veterans Affairs Canada to overhaul service delivery and reduce complexity. These priorities draw heavily from our election platform commitments. As mentioned, you are encouraged to seek opportunities to work across Parliament in the fulfillment of these commitments and to identify additional priorities. I expect you to work closely with your Deputy Minister and their senior officials to ensure that the ongoing work of your department is undertaken in a professional manner and that decisions are made in the public interest. Your Deputy Minister will brief you on the many daily decisions necessary to ensure the achievement of your priorities, the effective running of the government and better services for Canadians. It is my expectation that you will apply our values and principles to these decisions so that they are dealt with in a timely and responsible manner and in a way that is consistent with the overall direction of our Government. Our ability, as a government, to implement our priorities depends on consideration of the professional, non-partisan advice of public servants. Each and every time a government employee comes to work, they do so in service to Canada, with a goal of improving our country and the lives of all Canadians. I expect you to establish a collaborative working relationship with your Deputy Minister, whose role, and the role of public servants under their direction, is to support you in the performance of your responsibilities. We have committed to an open, honest government that is accountable to Canadians, lives up to the highest ethical standards and applies the utmost care and prudence in the handling of public funds. I expect you to embody these values in your work and observe the highest ethical standards in everything you do. I want Canadians to look on their own government with pride and trust. As Minister, you must ensure that you are aware of and fully compliant with the Conflict of Interest Act and Treasury Board policies and guidelines. You will be provided with a copy of Open and Accountable Government to assist you as you undertake your responsibilities. I ask that you carefully read it, including elements that have been added to strengthen it, and ensure that your staff does so as well. I expect that in staffing your offices you will hire people who reflect the diversity of Canada, and that you will uphold principles of gender equality, disability equality, pay equity and inclusion. Give particular attention to the Ethical Guidelines set out in Annex A of that document, which apply to you and your staff. As noted in the Guidelines, you must uphold the highest standards of honesty and impartiality, and both the performance of your official duties and the arrangement of your private affairs should bear the closest public scrutiny. This is an obligation that is not fully discharged by simply acting within the law. I will note that you are responsible for ensuring that your Minister's Office meets the highest standards of professionalism and that it is a safe, respectful, rewarding and welcoming place for your staff to work. I know I can count on you to fulfill the important responsibilities entrusted in you. It is incumbent on you to turn to me and the Deputy Prime Minister early and often to support you in your role as Minister. Sincerely,

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