As a centre of national excellence, the mission of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS) is to advance knowledge, understanding and debate in Canada on defence and security issues through an active research, teaching and outreach program. To meet this mission, the CDSS targets four primary communities – academia, government, the Canadian Forces and the general public – and employs a variety of mechanisms:
● an active, focused research agenda with the dissemination of research findings through internal and external publications;
● a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach to research with institutions in and outside of Canada;
● the provision of expert commentary on Canadian defence and security issues to Parliamentary committees and the media;
● the sponsorship of regular conferences, workshops and seminars;
● direct engagement with National Defence and the Canadian Forces, and with a variety of organizations concerned with national defence and international security issues;
● the exposure of students to defence and security issues through a dynamic university-level teaching and high school outreach programme;
● and support to a range of community activities that are germane to the Centre’s mission and its expertise
As detailed in this report, the Centre’s mission statement continues to guide all of its activities, adjusted as a function of available resources and circumstances. Arguably the most inter-disciplinary centre within the SDF community, its research fellows remain drawn from English, History, Political Studies and Sociology working on defence and security issues, as well as retired government/Canadian Forces members. In total, this community produced 31 publications, attended 38 conference/workshops, sponsored 11 events, supervised 8 graduate students, taught 249 students in defence and security related courses, interacted directly with the CF and DND on 15 occasions (not including numerous informal interactions and meetings), provided more than 20 interviews to the media, was directly involved with 8 NGOS, and spoke to the public on 21 occasions. This level of contribution by a relatively small Centre with a core of 3 scholars is consistent with its level of activities throughout its history.
This year, as in the previous five, the Centre met all of its commitment as outlined in its five year plan. Of note, the CDSS’ relationship with the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Studies (CFSAS) deepened with the formal addition of Steve James, funded by the RCAF, and the expansion of its graduate program offerings to Air Force students in the Aerospace Systems Course (ASC) into engineering. In total, eight students were enrolled in either the MPA or MEng program, and we expect expansion in numbers next year. At the same time, plans are underway to further expand the program to establish the Centre and the University as the home for Air Force graduate education. These developments, in turn, are central to the ongoing CDSS re-structuring plan.
With regard to outreach in general and the Northern/Aboriginal Outreach program, the program expanded over the year, although it remains problematic in obtaining participation from this community. Overall, requests from high schools and community groups remained high.
With regard to research, the Centre decision to concentrate its research activities into two areas, reflective of its core membership – aerospace defence and the Middle East - continued. In addition to these research areas, members of the CDSS continued to undertake a range of research in other areas of defence and security studies, with an emphasis on Canada.
The Prairie Defence and Security Consortium 6th annual workshop was held on the topic of The Arab Spring: Implications for Canada held in December, with presentations by Col. Michael Baker, Dr. Houchang Hassan-Yari, Dr. Tami Jacoby, and Dr. Salim Mansur. In total, 28 people from academia, the CF and the public participated in the one day workshop.
Unfortunately, due to funding issues and the failure to receive as in the past Special project Fund support, the Annual Student Briefing Program to DND Ottawa was canceled. The Centre remains directly engaged in exposing students to Canadian defence and security issues, as evident in its continued long term support to the Graduate Students Conference on International Relations in its 28th year. This year the Conference focused on an assessment of Twenty Years of Western Military Intervention. Focusing significantly on Canadian perspectives from Canada’s leading scholars in this area, over 350 students, as well as members of the public and CF, attended over the two and a half days. We were particularly thrilled to have two representatives from the CF participate – Col. Alain Pelletier, Commander of Task Force Libeccio, and Major-General Alain Parent, the Commanding Officer of the 1st Canadian Air Division/Canada NORAD HQ. In addition, the Centre exposed students to briefings from CF members on every occasion that arose through its close working relationship with the Public Affairs office located at the 1st Canadian Air Division.
Regarding the other elements of the Centre’s five year plan, members of the Centre continued to respond to any and all requests from the media on a range of topics. Naturally, Centre activity is a function of the ebb and flow of media requests. Finally, the CDSS remain committed to engaging National Defence, the Canadian Forces and the public at large whenever the opportunity arises.
Future activities will develop as a function of ongoing CDSS re-structuring and the release of the new funding programme from the Directorate of Public Policy. Regardless, the Centre will remain active in researching a range of international and Canadian defence issues, and will continue to the best of its abilities, the outreach programme.