From Nascent Technology to Canadian Defence Policy: Revisiting the Merits of a Connected Battlespace


From Nascent Technology to Canadian Defence Policy: Revisiting the Merits of a Connected Battlespace

1 Dec 2023

Table of Contents Introduction What is the Connected Battlespace? Change, at Speed Making Sense of Change for Canadian Defence Canada’s CB and the Search for Answers About the Authors Canadian Global Affairs Institute Introduction Does Canada need a connected battlespace? In June 2020, we posed this question to a group of defence experts who joined our Collins Aerospace–Carleton University research team for a virtual conference. The purpose of our gathering was to speak with members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the Canadian government, industry, and academia about the impacts, challenges, and opportunities emerging technology will have on Canadian defence policy. As a new and enhanced version of network-centric warfare, a connected battlespace (CB) can best be understood as an augmentation of C4ISR. By leveraging emerging digital technologies to capture, process, and distribute large quantities of data within an integrated network of sensors and systems, a CB can foster real-time decision-support and jointness between the different military domains and assets. Together, the combination of cloud-based data harmonization, along with real-time data analysis and sharing, is – unlike anything before – driving military powers around the world to prioritize force development through joint exercises and interoperability. The response by the conference participants was overwhelming. The experts reported that as Canada adapts to an ever-changing world, attaining a CB must be at the centre of its future strategic planning. As we discussed in a subsequent International Journal article published in 2021, the most pressing concern our participants expressed was that Canada was woefully underprepared for a new generation of threats and operations shaped by data-driven objectives and informed by a return to great power competition. Put in simpler terms, we found that Canada was falling further behind its friends and adversaries alike, posing a distinctive threat to our national security and sovereignty. Fast forward nearly four years and the world has changed in the most unusual of ways. The COVID-19 pandemic has lasted far longer than anyone anticipated, bringing with it a host of unintended crises involving semiconductors, constricted supply chains, inflation, and political extremism. Joe Biden was elected president of the United States; Russia invaded Ukraine, prompting NATO’s northern expansion; and Taiwan’s sovereignty was further imperilled by Chinese expansionism
security united kingdom united states ai canada australia cloud computing defence policy perspective cyber & tech defence resources defence operations north america & norad alex wilner defence innovation kevin budning


Kevin Budning, Alex Wilner, Guillaume Côté

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