Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 10 - Evidence - Meeting of November 19, 2012
OTTAWA, Monday, November 19, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day
at 4:02 p.m. to examine and report on Canada's national security and defence
policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities.
Senator Pamela Wallin (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: This is the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence. If I could beg for the indulgence of our guests
for a moment, we have a quick minute of business for the committee.
As we all know, we have a new order of reference that has come from the
Senate. We also have a very full agenda over the next coming weeks. We will
begin the process of collecting all the information we need to try to build a
work plan around this ASAP. We need advice on procedure and law and rules of
engagement for us and witnesses. We need timelines on internal and external
reports that are under way, government legislation and timelines on that, travel
and discussions with Internal. We will be doing that research in the near
future. We are starting on that process. We will then bring that information to
the steering committee, where we will discuss it and come up with a work plan.
Then we will make sure that everyone on the committee is fully briefed on not
only what the work plan is but also what the rules of engagement will be when we
have matters that are of procedural and legal interest. I assure members that we
are on the case.
Thank you. We appreciate your giving us a minute to do that business.
Senator Dallaire: Let me intervene at this point to indicate that I
have also been spending some time working on this and will be putting together a
proposal of study that I hope will be helpful to us all in bringing this
The Chair: Thanks. I look forward to that.
The week before last, we focused our attention at this committee on
cyberspace and learned in that testimony that it is really now a Canadian
military domain, joining land, sea, and air. Today we will look at another realm
where our military operates: space, outer space or that place where cyberspace
actually works. It is above the earth, above the atmosphere. Joining us are
Brigadier-General Pitre, Director General Space, and Colonel André Dupuis,
Director of Space Requirements. Welcome to you both. I gather you have opening
Brigadier-General Rick Pitre, Director General Space, National Defence:
Thank You. Good evening. My name is Brigadier-General Rick Pitre and I am the
Director General Space at National Defence Headquarters. Joining me is Colonel
André Dupuis, who is responsible for the planning and acquisition of space
systems for the Canadian Forces.
My role is to develop the space-enabled capabilities that have become
critical enablers for the operational success of our men and women in uniform.
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to provide you some sense of just
how important space support is to CF operations.
My organization works in conjunction with the Canadian Space Agency, other
government departments and key allies to deliver agile, effective and affordable
space support to our military.
I would like to start by setting the broader context of the critical but
sometimes unrecognizable role that space-based systems play in a modern society
as a whole. You probably would not be surprised that space capabilities today
are woven into the very fabric of Canadian society. When you think of
environmental monitoring, national resource management, disaster assistance,
mitigation, the Internet, telephone systems, search and rescue, GPS navigation,
weather forecasting, these are all areas where space systems have dramatically
improved our lives and our business.
In the military as well, space is now an indispensible part of how we do
business. Space-enabled systems provide intelligence, surveillance,
reconnaissance, communications, timing and navigation information.
All of that would be difficult and sometimes impossible to obtain through
In some instances, it is very difficult to get into other areas. The
pervasive nature of space in both the civilian and military worlds gives our
department a unique opportunity. We are able to work with a variety of partners
to take advantage of systems that provide useful civil and military
capabilities, so-called dual-use systems. These systems allow our forces to
access space in a flexible and cost-effective way. I coin this: Smart defence is
National Defence is also partnering with our closest military allies,
including the U.S., to leverage other unique and important space capabilities.
For example, with a relatively small investment, we recently joined the
U.S.-led Wideband Global SATCOM program.
We gained immediate access to a worldwide, multi-billion-dollar military
communications capability that frankly cannot be matched in any other way.
However, there is a flip side to the ever-growing and successful use of space
throughout the modern world, and that is that the clamour for access to
space-enabled services may in fact endanger our assurance to that access. I will
explain that in a moment.
The cliché among space professionals is that space has become congested,
competitive and contested.
The cliché is true.
There has already been an accidental collision between two satellites in
orbit, Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251, in February 2009. China tested an
anti-satellite weapon and successfully destroyed one of its own satellites in
As society at large, including the Canadian Forces, makes ever-more effective
use of space-enabled capabilities, we must also be increasingly proactive to
ensure those capabilities are available when and where we need them.
Having given you some context about the nature of space in our modern world,
I would like to discuss some of our specific defence space initiatives. These
initiatives directly support the Canada First Defence Strategy mandates, and of
course those are to deliver excellence at home, to be a strong and reliable
partner in the defence of North America, and to project leadership abroad.
In the communications realm, we are proud to have recently secured access to
several new strategic communication capabilities.
For instance, the Protected Military Satellite Communication program delivers
access to the United States MILSATCOM Advanced Extremely High Frequency, or
AEHF, program. This is a targeted and prudent investment that fills our needs
for a survivable anti-jam communications capability. It also ensures our
interoperability with our closest allies and allows Canada to leverage the
entire AEHF system.
The military's ``big pipe'' broadband needs — we use broadband as well — are
also growing. This is driven both by the increased capability of modern sensors
and by the increased demand for reach-back on deployed and domestic operations.
For example, providing our deployed personnel with access to modern,
Internet-based services enables them to connect with their families while in
theatre. There is no bigger boost for the morale and performance with this
The Canadian Arctic is a national priority.
It is very much a priority, and satellite communications are increasingly
connecting the Arctic with the South for both military and civilian users. The
temporary outage of the Anik F2 communications satellite in October of last year
was in fact a vivid demonstration of the importance of space-based systems to
However, typical communications satellites cannot provide coverage at extreme
northern latitudes. We need innovative and affordable solutions that balance the
type of capabilities that SATCOM — satellite communications — offer with other
One promising option is the PCW, the Polar Communications and Weather
project, being led by our friends in the Canadian Space Agency. That proposal
calls for two satellites to be placed in special orbits that can cover all of
Canada's northern territory. Commercial companies are also bringing forward some
interesting options to address these requirements, and we are closely monitoring
developments in these areas.
In addition to communication, earth observation is also enabled by space. As
a three-ocean nation with the longest coastline in the world, Canada needs
wide-area surveillance advantages to exercise its sovereignty and custodial
Canada's RADARSAT-1 and RADARSAT-2 systems have been tremendous workhorses in
this area. They have mapped the entire globe. They provide critical
environmental monitoring as well. We are continuing to invest in maximizing the
potential of Canada's space-based radar.
Polar Epsilon is our defence program that allows for the more efficient and
timely exploitation of RADARSAT-2 data by our military. Frankly, it has been a
huge success in building our maritime picture.
The RADARSAT Constellation Mission, a Canadian Space Agency-led program, will
provide Canada with its third generation of space-based radar. We are working
with the space agency to add ship Automatic Identification System, or AIS,
receive capability to the RADARSAT Constellation satellites. This has the
potential to provide a game-changing improvement in our strategic awareness of
Canada's ocean approaches.
We have also seen huge leaps in other earth observation capabilities, from
the days when the highest-quality earth observation data could be found only in
the most classified military systems. Today we can get excellent imagery from a
variety of commercial satellite services.
As I mentioned earlier, space is a congested, contested and competitive
environment. We need to be aware of what is happening in space.
The U.S. Space Surveillance Network catalogues and tracks more than 22,000
man-made objects in space, all of them a potential threat. Canada has a stake in
this game as well, given its reliance on space and therefore the need to protect
its critical assets and infrastructure.
We are now poised to launch our first satellite-based, electro-optical sensor
system, with the help and expertise of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates, a
Called Sapphire, this satellite demonstrates our commitment to making a
meaningful and a functional contribution to the larger, international space
surveillance network, as well as meeting our own needs.
Furthermore, Sapphire represents a niche contribution to our closest allies
that we leverage for privileged access to a range of critical space information.
Search and rescue is another key part of the Canadian Forces' mandate. Fast
response times are critical to saving people in distress. That means we need to
locate those people as rapidly as possible. This is where the search and rescue
satellite program, known as Cospas-Sarsat, comes in. It is an indispensable
capability to quickly locate emergency locator transmitter signals. The year
2012 marks the system's thirtieth year of operation, and estimates suggest that
it has saved some 31,000 lives.
It will get better with the next generation of search and rescue repeaters
poised to launch on the U.S. GPS constellation.
Positioning, navigation and timing, known as PNT, is the last key space
system I will mention. I noted earlier that the Canadian Forces operations have
come to depend heavily on precise navigation and timing services from satellites
like the Global Positioning System, or GPS, but those services have their
vulnerabilities. The GPS signal, like any other signal, is easily prone to
interference, accidental or otherwise. Access to GPS is not assured.
And so, with our allies, we continue to look at ways to protect this vital
Our efforts are focused on identifying emerging threats, developing smart
tactics, techniques and procedures to deal with GPS-denied environments, and
supporting the research and development of new GPS-related technologies.
Finally, we are now taking the step of standing up the Canadian Space
Operations Cell, or CANSpOC, within the Canadian Forces Joint Operations Command
Centre. This cell will deliver the critical space enablers to our forces and our
strategic partners within government in close cooperation with our allies around
Allow me to offer the simple proposition that space today is everyone's
business. Our success in the military and in society at large depends on our
effective use of space. It is incumbent on all of us to protect the space
National Defence is playing an important role in this endeavour, to meet the
needs of our men and women in uniform, and thereby supporting the broader goals
of Canadian society.
I thank you very much for your time in allowing me to address this committee,
and I look forward to answering your questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We appreciate that overview. It an
issue we have talked about a little bit around the edges, so it is very helpful
that you are here.
Do we have or is there such a thing as an international code of conduct for
behaviour in space? What context are we in? I know we would have relations with
allies, but in general is there such a thing?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: There is. In fact, under the UN mandate there is a
code of conduct. Our ADM policy folks tend to be through DFAIT the leads in that
environment. That certainly does exist.
The Chair: This is a pretty difficult place when you think about space
in general, but space over the Arctic, for example. I have some other questions
we will come back to.
We will begin our more formal questioning now with Senator Dallaire, whose
son joins him today. He is in the audience looking on. I was teasing the senator
that this was bring-a-kid-to-work day, but this is a member of the military, so
not much of a kid.
Senator Dallaire: Master Seaman Guy Dallaire is sitting there.
The Chair: Welcome.
Senator Dallaire: In 1980, when I was with the Marines, we were
talking about space law. I attended your course in Winnipeg on space. You had a
space course of a couple of weeks. You have a space program at RMC, a variant of
an undergraduate degree in physics for space.
What is the development concept with regard to both classifications in the
officer corps and trades in the NCO corps for building our expertise in that
To follow on, if I may: I am of the school that believes that cyberwar is the
new total war. You are a communications instrument. You are observation and
intelligence, command and control, all those things. You are right up there as
one of those primary target areas. How are we preparing that capability within
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: That is an excellent question. In fact, I am the
product of your question. Back about a year ago, we actually stood up the
Director General of Space. Prior to that, it was the Director of Space
Development, and the majority of the focus was on force development in terms of
developing capability. While a good portion of our force generation is training,
and our employment piece was with the United States, it clearly became
recognized in the last few years that we had to do that at home, as well.
For instance, the courses that you talk about in Winnipeg and the courses
that we attended in Colorado Springs were primarily to service that 30-some-year
arrangement where most of our expertise was to the NORAD arrangement. We
certainly recognized that we need to have a much more comprehensive,
all-encompassing approach to that.
In addition to developing capability, we needed space-smart people, and we
also needed them to be employed in ways that we could understand and certainly
put to good use here at home.
With the CJOC, the Commander Joint Operations Centre, we have this summer
stood up seven of our space operators that will provide initial support to all
of our operations in terms of mission planning, weather support, space weather —
all of the things that we need now to do in terms of our awareness and how we
execute operations abroad. That is a continuing process.
The intent is to move that to potentially 30 individuals who will look at
both employment pieces, the generation piece in terms of the educational aspects
of it, both, as you said, at RMC and in Winnipeg. There is a space university
course program that we have, as well. It is inculcating that. We need
You are absolutely right in the sense that this is the new world in terms of
where we are, with both cyber and space. There is that recognition that we need
to focus on that. That was the impetus a few years back for the creation of my
position and beginning to look at an all-encompassing approach to the
development of this capability.
The Chair: Maybe you could take another second and say how space and
cyber as domains — or separate areas — are working together. How do those two
interact or work?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: We are neighbours, side by side. We share an office
right beside each other. We were both stood up at the same time. While
Brigadier-General Loos was working his area of expertise, I was working mine. In
trying to understand where those linkages are, I mentioned the protection of
capability. Although I will not speak to, for instance, the cyber aspects of it,
because that is more his domain, I understand clearly the linkages between the
two and making sure we defend that capability, as well.
It is not only about defending infrastructure at physical points, but it is
about defending those links. For instance, it could be an IP, Internet protocol,
link or it could very well be GPS signals. There is a whole host of areas.
We were stood up at the same time. I must say, though, from a space
perspective, I probably have a bit of an advantage in terms of more time,
because I actually had a force development capability in place already. We work
closely together, as we should. The linkages are clearly understood.
Senator Lang: I would just like to follow up on that line of
questioning and ask about your relationship with the Canadian Space Agency. At
the outset, you highlighted the fact that the systems allow us intelligence,
surveillance, reconnaissance, communication, timing and navigation information.
If I could make a recommendation, perhaps what should be stressed also is that
it is very important for the minute-to-minute running of our economy. I think it
is very important that Canadians be aware of that, because most Canadians are
not when it comes to the Internet or surveillance or any of these other
One area I would like to ask about is going back to your relationship with
the Canadian Space Agency. My understanding is that they have the
intelligentsia, the scientists and the engineers that are all required to run
that organization, and they are hard to come by. Once you get them, you want to
keep them there, because once you lose them, where do you find someone to
Just reading your opening remarks, I see that the Armed Forces will be
responsible for what they call Sapphire and taking Sapphire and putting it into
space. I do not quite understand how that relates to the Canadian Space Agency.
I understand that they have that responsibility, and then the responsibility of
maintenance in space, if there is maintenance to be done. My concern is the
duplication perhaps of service, when perhaps it does not necessarily have to
happen. Perhaps you could comment on that.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: Thank you very much for your question. In terms of
the relationship with CSA, and to go back to your first question, space is
pervasive. My opening remarks talked about the duality of space. Everything we
do needs to consider both the military aspect and the larger aspect. Therefore,
you are absolutely right, senator, in terms of the economy and other aspects.
There are so many different drivers today that space involves; it touches almost
everything. I think there is a much better appreciation today of how widespread
it really is.
In terms of our relationship with CSA, we work very closely with CSA on a
whole host of areas. CSA has the mandate for policy and procedures. Individual
organizations within government departments also have the responsibility for
developing capabilities, as well. We try to link those as best we can.
Sapphire is about debris mitigation. While it is a military program, the
responsibility to protect space is all of our responsibility. Sapphire addresses
that. The relationship works in that we are linked military to military through
the Space Surveillance Network.
When I said it was a niche capability, it was a niche capability identified
with close collaboration with our U.S. partners. A lot of what we do is very
much collaborative, not only with our allies but interdepartmentally. Working
with CSA and the other government departments is very important. After all,
whether it is a Sapphire that goes up or whether it is any other type of system
that we rely on in Canada, it is a system that we need to understand what is
happening up in space in terms of the debris that is up there — and as I said,
moving at 22,000 miles an hour, you can imagine the effect. In fact, I think
over the last year, they needed to move the International Space Station some 15
times because of potential collision. Therefore, being aware clearly is
The linkage with us is through the American system. We then link
interdepartmentally. Everyone has to take advantage. The stewardship belongs to
all of us.
Senator Lang: I will go to one other subject quickly. You refer to the
Canadian Arctic as a national priority, and that is an area of concern for me.
You go on to talk about the Polar Communications and Weather Project, which I
believe in some terminology is called ``Polar SAT;'' is that correct?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: PCW.
Senator Lang: In launching this particular satellite, will you be
purchasing or contracting a portion of the costs of running it? If so, have you
come to a conclusion on that?
Second, how does that relate to the military from the fact that right now —
just for viewers' information — we do not have any weather way up in the Arctic
and communications are minimal, if at all? This will bring this into play; now
we have a method of surveillance that we did not have before. Subsequently, that
should cut down the costs of running the military in terms of regular flights to
see if there is anyone in our Arctic.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: I will pass this to my director of space
requirements. He knows the technical aspects.
Colonel André Dupuis, Director of Space Requirements, National Defence:
Thank you, senator. Excellent question. The Polar Communications and Weather
Satellite is in Phase A, which is the definition phase for a satellite system.
As far as cost share for the departments goes, it has not been attributed.
National Defence took the lead on the communication piece. Obviously,
Environment Canada had the lead on the weather piece, but we did not at any
point in time discuss costs or cost share. It is very much at this point a
program that, frankly, is the only way to fill all of the department's
requirements, but it is not a funded program within the Canadian Space Agency at
this point. I think that is probably the best I can say about PCW right now.
Senator Lang: Regarding my second question, let us assume it becomes a
reality. That should then reflect back on the costs of how you do your
surveillance at the present time because you will have this communications
weather satellite that you did not have before. That subsequently should cut
back on those costs. Is that correct?
Col. Dupuis: The interesting thing about PCW is that it provides a
service that by and large is not available today. Clearly, it would enable
better weather forecasting to allow the smarter planning of, for example, air
operations, land operations or when ice passage is possible for maritime
operations. It is very much tied to how we use RADARSAT Constellation and
RADARSAT-2 because it also provides an idea of ice conditions and so on.
Modern communications today are very difficult in the Arctic. For those of
you who have ever spoken on a high frequency radio, it is more like screaming
into a box and having it scream back at you. This would bring communications in
the High Arctic to the standards that we would enjoy around the world. That does
not mean we cannot operate in the High Arctic; it is just that we would operate
more efficiently. To quantify that efficiency at this point is difficult to do.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: It is too early to tell right now, but one needs to
look at all the capabilities. Colonel Dupuis mentioned HF. There is
point-to-point line of sight UHF. As we know, all of the communication
satellites we have right now tend to be geostationary. In other words, they
orbit around the equator. The problem, which is pure physics and the curvature
of the earth, is that as you get further north, you cannot reach those northern
climes. Having solutions there in the orbit that do, for instance, what they
call a ``high dwell time,'' in other words, a satellite that will go very far up
and hang up well over the North Pole, and if you use two of them, about 12 for
each satellite, you have 24-hour coverage, those are certainly things we are
looking at. CSA has the lead on it. They initiated the study back in 2009. We
need to look at this in terms of all the capabilities we have currently and
where we are going. We need to do this smartly. We need to look at the
requirements, the demand and, certainly, the supply curve in terms of when we
introduce these things. Clearly, the focus is on being able to operate.
Once again, to your point about the economy, we are not the only ones who
operate up there. A lot of activity is up there in environmental and oil
exploration, and for all of those aspects, we need to have a good understanding
of what the needs are. PCW is but one initiative that a number of organizations
are looking at to try to solve or satisfy their problem.
The Chair: Just to be clear on Senator Lang's point, the funding for
that would be through the space agency, not through your section.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: We do not know. That has to be a proposal that
someone would present, and then we would look at it. It is not cheap, so clearly
we would not necessarily see a single entity, nor would a single entity be the
only one that would want this capability.
The Chair: That is a good point.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: There are the Americans, other allies and,
certainly, government that would like this.
The Chair: That is a good point. Thank you.
Senator Nolin: Welcome to our committee. General Pitre, I would like
to go back to your very brief answer concerning cyberspace.
I understand that your colleague testified before us, but sometimes things
fall between the cracks. And so, I would like to hear a much more detailed reply
from you concerning the vulnerabilities of the space systems whose integrity is
your responsibility. I would like to know about these weaknesses that could
develop because of the cyberspace environment. I understand that that is your
colleague's responsibility, but you are responsible for these assets, and that
is why I would like to hear your comments.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: If you do not mind, I will reply in English.
Senator Nolin: Yes, please. I wanted to give you a chance to practise
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: Yes, I know. I will alternate.
Senator Nolin: Please go ahead.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: There are a number of areas that we would see as
vulnerabilities. From a cyber perspective, we are just learning what those
potential vulnerabilities are. As I said, if it is an IP protocol, for instance,
the point-to-point vulnerabilities where information moves, that can be a real
challenge. I do not know whether Colonel Dupuis can add anything, but let me
highlight the other vulnerabilities that I see as our challenge.
One is, as I said, the PNT, the GPS signal. It is a very weak signal. Let me
give you an example of some of the work we are doing. We are doing GPS jamming
work, so we are trying to understand how easy it is to jam the signal. Once
again, this goes back to a common question from before, namely, how pervasive
space is. For instance, the financial sector, the energy sector and navigation
all rely to some extent on a timing signal. When you go to the ATM to pull out
money and your card does not work, it could be there is no timing signal and
they are not synchronized. That could be accidental or it could be nefarious; in
other words, something bad could be happening.
With respect to the ability to build a jammer today, in fact, about eight
years ago, it was about $150 at Radio Shack — go build yourself a jammer, get on
the Internet, 40,000 pages on how to build a jammer. There are probably half a
million to a million pages today, and the price is $40. With a very weak signal,
we are concerned with the signal and how one protects that. That is one
vulnerability right there.
The other vulnerabilities are the physical kinetic vulnerabilities we have.
In other words, without the ability to do debris mitigation and understand what
is happening, Sapphire looks between 6,000 kilometres and 40,000 kilometres and
does a registration of material moving about space. Without that know-how, that
knowledge and that space situational awareness, we have bullets out there that
can potentially take out systems that we rely on for a good part of what we do.
It used to be redundancy was good enough. In other words, you had the ability
to build two of something. Space is expensive, and, in some cases, you may not
have a redundant capability. What you will hear quite often is another ``r'':
resiliency. Resiliency is about understanding the impact, the vulnerability and
the ability to mitigate through either tactics, techniques, procedures or
finding different ways and streams to move your information. That is the other
area of vulnerability we are looking at.
The third one is cyberspace, which we are just beginning to understand. Let
me tell you why that is a concern today. It used to be that space was an
exclusive club — very few individuals and organizations were involved. That is
not true today. Everyone has access to space. Most who have access to space may
do so through an IP network or the ability to go that way. If you have enough
money to buy, for instance, commercial satellite imagery or you have computer
know-how, there is vulnerability there as well.
That is as much as I can offer on the cyber part of it. I do not know whether
Colonel Dupuis has anything to add.
Col. Dupuis: I could add that beyond the threats the general has told
you about, with respect to cyberspace, there is a real possibility that a
country could take control of a satellite for their own purposes.
Senator Nolin: Without physically getting near it, they could take
control of it from a distance?
Col. Dupuis: That's correct, they could use remote controls to tell
the satellite to change —
Senator Nolin: To change its itinerary.
Col. Dupuis: And so, to protect our satellites, we use encrypted
schemas. The level of encryption used for the RCM — Radar Constellation Mission
— system is level 1 military encryption.
Senator Nolin: For the benefit of the members of the committee, could
you explain what that standard is?
Col. Dupuis: That standard is used for the most sensitive Canadian
government communications. Nothing protects our systems better than level
Most companies use a civilian system, which is generally equivalent to the
systems used by the banking sector, and they are very good.
Major efforts are made to allow us to control the link between earth and
space. General Loos would say that we must also protect the control centre and
the antennas. There is a whole other cyber schema beyond the link between earth
and the satellites. So that is important. We have thought of that, but of course
there is always room for improvement.
Senator Nolin: If I may, I have another question on service providers.
Colonel Dupuis, MacDonald, Dettwiler and COM DEV are among the main equipment
Col. Dupuis: They are the two biggest ones.
Senator Nolin: Are there any others? I am asking because these two
main suppliers have laid off workers. Given your responsibility for purchasing,
you are probably in a position to tell us what is going on. Is it that you were
unable to give them enough work? Have some projects been delayed? What do the
smaller ones do?
Col. Dupuis: This is quite a solid industry on the Canadian side.
There are MacDonald, Dettwiler, and COM DEV, but there is also Neptec and some
small value-added services suppliers, hundreds of them, who are responsible for
several billion dollars annually of Canadian revenue, and almost 50 per cent of
that is due to exports.
Senator Nolin: You say that we should not jump to conclusions based on
the fact that the two largest companies had to downsize their work force and lay
off some workers. You do not think we should conclude that this field has become
Col. Dupuis: I would not draw that conclusion readily without a more
detailed study. This is not my area, it falls under Industry Canada, but it
needs to be discussed in detail because it is a complex matter.
Senator Nolin: I am taking comfort in the word ``solid'' that you
Senator Day: General, colonel, I need to go back to the beginning here
and have an understanding of the relationship between cyberspace and ``space''
space. You stopped using the word ``space'' with ``cyber'' and divided
cyberspace into two pieces here, it sounds like. Can you explain the
relationship and how you divide up your work?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: I can explain certainly what I do, which is easiest
for me. As I said, most of my work right now is both in the force development,
the project, the capability development, force generation — that is training —
and force employment.
From that perspective, we are developing capability, whether it is a
Sapphire, whether it is the military project RCM — which is Polar Epsilon — or
whether it is joint space support capability that allows us to down link
commercial satellite imagery. Those are the areas of focus for me.
In terms of the relationship between space and cyberspace, we are still
trying to figure that out in terms of the vulnerabilities. For me, it is more
about the hard-core capabilities, what we are developing.
Senator Day: You initially talked about the very fabric of Canadian
society, environmental monitoring, et cetera. You talked about GPS. Is that in
its concentration of what happens and what is going on? There are initiatives in
other departments of the government previously such as the Canadian Space
Agency, and then the private sector was involved. Is the cyber side of things
looking after all these activities?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: No, that is the space area. For instance, when we
talk about earth observation or maritime or global domain awareness, the
military side of it is maritime or global domain awareness. Earth observation is
the duality, the other side, for instance, that our commercial or private
entities would be looking at. Weather forecasting, earth observation, ship
detection, pollution detection and communications all fall within the space
When it begins to affect, for instance, point to point, the movement of
information through protocols, that is cyberspace. Once again, I am getting into
an area that is not my specialty. That is why, in fact, we are neighbours, we
live side by side, because we need to clearly understand those vulnerabilities.
We are talking about service-oriented areas, which are my focus.
Senator Day: Space-enabled systems all fall under your and the
colonel's domain as areas of activity.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: That is right.
Senator Day: There are some military applications here and there are
some dual or joint, as you described in your introductory remarks.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: That is right.
Senator Day: You mentioned NORAD, and that is another area I wanted
you to talk about. We have had an extremely good relationship with our neighbour
to the south, the United States of America, in relation to NORAD and aerospace
and air space activity and monitoring and defence. There was some talk at one
time of our expanding that role into space, but we objected to arming space,
whereas the U.S. did not. Can you talk to me now about that fine distinction of
being able to defend potential attacks in space and the offensive activity that
could take place?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: Our policy has always been clear in terms of
weaponization. It is the peaceful use of space and the application of that.
If I go back to your question about NORAD, since 1958 we have been involved
very closely with our U.S. counterparts on the defensive nature. In other words,
the integrated threat warning and assessment has always been a role, and today
we are still involved in that. We have Canadian personnel involved, certainly
posted to missile warning sites in that area. Defending, from that perspective,
has been something we have been doing for the last 34 years. From that
perspective, defending is clearly within our mandate. The weaponization,
however, is clear to us. We are a UN signatory to the Peaceful Uses of Outer
Space, so there is a clear delineation from our perspective.
Senator Day: What comes to mind with weaponization is putting a laser
on a satellite up there and the laser would then be used for offensive purposes.
Learning to defend against jamming, for example, you learn how someone else
might do it, but you also learn how to do it. They develop a new system; you
develop a new system. We exchange ideas with our partners in that regard so we
can develop tactical offensive weaponry in that regard, can we not?
Col. Dupuis: Senator, probably the easiest way to wrap your arms
around this particular topic is that there are three ways to attack a satellite
system. You can attack the satellite which clearly, based on the Chinese ASAT
tests, is not a good idea; it causes debris. We talked about attacking the link,
which is the ground station to the satellite. If you cannot talk to the
satellite, you cannot get information off the satellite, so then you have
negated it without causing debris. We do not want to cause debris. The other
piece is you could always intervene on the ground. If you had to take out a
satellite dish, for example, to keep the enemy from accessing that satellite,
that would also work.
There are plenty of GPS jammers, as the general mentioned. There are plenty
of people jamming satellite communications today. When we talk about the
militarization or the military use of space as opposed to weaponization, we just
have to be careful about what we are talking about. I do not think anyone is
running off to put weapons in space. That perhaps is possible, but no one does
it today. We are talking about using military effect to prevent the use of
space, which is maybe a more refined way of looking at the question.
Senator Day: I just want it to be clear that you talk defensively but
you are learning to act offensively while learning to act defensively.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: You certainly understand and learn the offensive
capabilities, and clearly if you know black you certainly know white. In
understanding how to defend, one would need to understand what types of
offensive capabilities are out there. Our focus, certainly from the peaceful use
of space, allows us the defence of our systems both on the ground and in space.
Senator Day: That rounds out my question. Thank you very much.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you. I would like to pursue this a little bit
further. We saw reports of perhaps Chinese elements hacking into Nortel,
stealing proprietary information, building whatever it is they would build and
compete with, and look at Nortel. If I can use the word ``attack,'' does that
fall under what you are doing?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: Yes.
Senator Mitchell: What is your relationship with those elements of our
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: My relationship would be directly through, for
instance, Director General Cyber. That is my relationship with him. As we build
capability, more robust, and understand those vulnerabilities, I link directly
through him. You heard from General Loos two weeks ago, and he explained his
relationship with those other organizations.
I should say that interdepartmentally we work closely with each other. When
we talk about space capabilities and the interests of NRCan or Public Safety or
Transport Canada or the Canadian Space Agency, we all share the same interests
and concerns. That same question would apply for those organizations that are
focused on the cyber threat itself and how we mitigate.
We talk about mitigation in terms of the resiliency part of it. That is an
area we would be very interested in.
Senator Mitchell: Thank you. You mentioned in your opening comments
that in the past the highest level, the highest quality of earth observatory
technology was military and had a high level of confidentiality. Today, you can
go out and buy it from companies; it is commercially available. I would like to
explore that a little bit.
What are the risks in depending on the commercial sector, the private sector,
to deliver those to you? How do you distinguish those risks? How do you deal
with them? What kind of budget does that involve? Do you have enough of that
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: I will start and then let Colonel Dupuis talk about
some of the other specifics. There are two sides to that coin. What are the
risks to what we call classified technical or national technical? The risks are
that not everyone has access to it. That can be a challenge. For instance, if
you are in a coalition operation where you have plenty of organizations that do
not necessarily have the security classification, you cannot share that
information with them. For instance, the Joint Space Support Project actually
allows us to download commercial satellite imagery right in theatre, within 30
minutes, provide it to the commander and also share it. It is extremely valuable
to be able to do that because the information you may need is very pertinent and
You have two issues. One is the classification of information you get. If it
is from national technical means, it may be difficult. Two, we do not own NTM,
national technical means, so having access to that requires us to do other
things to ensure we do get access to it. That is the national technical side.
With commercial satellite imagery, or CSI, also known as the program but with
a different name, the capabilities have improved tremendously over the last
decade. They have gotten to the point where they are extremely good. What are
the challenges? The challenges clearly are like any other organization: you may
not necessarily have access to it. You have to pay for it as well, and there may
be potential times when it may not necessarily serve your purposes, your needs,
and so it needs to be more specific. This is the comprehensive approach.
What tools and capabilities can we make use of? We go into our toolbox and
look at the specific classified systems that may do specific things. What are
the unclassified ones that are very good, that will address others, and how do
we use this to do the things we need to do? I do not know if Colonel Dupuis can
add anything further.
Col. Dupuis: There is not much more to add to that with the exception
that the military brings a very good understanding of the process, to analyze,
to build a requirement for the imagery, to order the imagery, to exploit the
imagery and to disseminate that imagery. We have done that in the classified
realm for a very long time. Commercial systems will allow us to do so down to 50
centimetres, very high resolution, using synthetic aperture radar. You can
measure differences in heights of millimetres from one dimension to the next. We
can bring to that equation the expertise to exploit that information to then
pass them on to our mission partners, whether that is in Afghanistan, the
Manitoba floods, firefighting, pollution monitoring or a whole host of things
that require what we call the TPED process, the intelligence process, and
pushing it to the people who need it. They do not compete; they are
complementary. Because the commercial folks are selling to a very large
audience, it allows the cost to be quite affordable.
The other part of your question was how we control it. We have a law in
Canada called the Remote Sensing Space Systems Act, owned by our friends at
DFAIT, and all of our allies who have similar systems have a similar law. It
says we will tell you who you can and cannot sell imagery to. In an extreme
case, you can say ``you cannot sell to them.'' We do not control every satellite
system that is up there; however, we can control most of the allied systems and
just say in extremis, you are not selling to them.
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: We refer to that as shutter control.
Senator Dawson: Because of the time, I will be very brief. One of the
partners you did not mention is NAV CANADA. NAV CANADA has responsibility for
flight control, and I am speaking of inner space. Between cyberspace and outer
space, there is the other space where flight control is done more and more by
satellite. NAV CANADA is a non-profit organization that had to recoup its costs.
Along the border, in the major cities or airports, they have revenues to offset
their investments. However, when you talk about the North and control of the
airspace, landing and taking off in the North, you have not mentioned the
relationship between Defence, NAV CANADA and the local needs. How are they
concerned? NAV CANADA is very efficient and modern, but it is totally
quasi-dependent on cyberspace. They are all doing everything they can either on
the Internet or through your satellites. How do they fit into the picture of
partnership and development in trying to facilitate sharing of information?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: NAV CANADA, through Transport Canada, is our vehicle
to deal with their particular needs. In my previous job, I had a lot of
experience in dealing with NAV CANADA and the Canadian NORAD Region and their
requirements. Transport Canada and Public Safety are typically the venues that
we would address to address those particular needs that NAV CANADA would have.
Aside from that, interdepartmentally, there are other organizations. I am not
sure if NAV CANADA sits on the IMSWG. Their voice is typically Transport Canada.
However, the Interdepartmental Marine Security Working Group, for instance, is a
vehicle that we have, and there are a number of other interdepartmental
organizations as well. NAV CANADA, connected directly through Transport Canada,
would be the mechanism through which we would see how their needs and
requirements are met.
Senator Dawson: I could go on and on, but thank you.
Senator Dallaire: All three services are using space for a variety of
reasons. Are they building capacity to maximize that competency in three
services? Is all the space capacity in NDHQ in your office, or is there some
other headquarters being considered? Do you have liaison officers or maybe
defence scientists in the Canadian Space Agency working with them?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: How we are moving along developing space expertise
and ensuring that it is joint has never been better. My responsibility, as the
director general space, is to the Chief of Force Development, Ron Lloyd, through
the VCS. I can tell you that, over the last year or two, we have been involved,
jointly with the army, navy and air force, in every aspect in areas of space
enablers, whether it is communications, with Mercury Global or the Wideband
Global satellite system linking directly with our navy; whether it is technical
narrow band SATCOM looking at communications on the move for both the army and
the air force; or whether it is RCM, the RADARSAT Constellation Mission. The
navy is a huge player in that in terms of maritime awareness and the
game-changing aspects of being able to not only track and identify but also now,
when RCM goes up with three satellites, to revisit, on a daily basis, our Arctic
approaches so that we can actually prosecute and use all of the capabilities
that we have out there. We are working with Defence Research and Development
Canada, DRDC, on algorithm work that they are doing on the Synthetic Aperture
Radar, for which we are leaders in the world. In fact, our U.S. counterparts
have their eyes wide open in terms of the things we are doing regarding maritime
domain awareness. We are across the board in many areas. To me, this is an
exciting time because we understand now. When we talk about the pervasiveness of
space and how reliant we are, we are getting it. We really are.
The Chair: I just have two quick points to wrap this up. Is Canada the
only Five Eyes partner besides the U.S. with space aspects?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: Having actual hardware like RADARSAT in space, I
think the answer is yes.
Col. Dupuis: The answer is definitely yes.
The Chair: When we were in Washington, this discussion came up. I
think you have touched on it briefly, but I will just give you 15 seconds to say
it out loud. The U.S. is looking to their partners for niche capability. What is
it that we put on the table that no one else has?
Brig.-Gen. Pitre: Whether it is circumstance or by design, all of us
in the world today understand that we need to work together. Everything we do is
about collaboration and leveraging. Sapphire was a good example years ago.
Today, we are working closely with the Five Eyes and the U.S. through the
collaboration in the space exchange of data, where we can bring capability that
perhaps others do not or cannot in surveillance of space. Sapphire is one grand
example, and RCM will be an example as well.
The Chair: That is very helpful. Thank you. I want to thank you both
very much for your testimony here today. We appreciate this. Our thanks to
Brigadier-General Pitre and to Colonel André Dupuis.
We will switch gears again today and welcome back to the committee a guest
Senator Dallaire: Last time it was a bow tie and now it is a tie.
The Chair: Stay focused, Senator Dallaire.
The committee made a travel trip this summer to Maritime Forces Pacific, and
we were briefed on site there on the Asia-Pacific picture by Dr. James
Boutilier. We are pleased to welcome him back today to brief us at committee so
it becomes part of our official record as we look at these issues. Dr. Boutilier
is a professor at the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives at the University of
Victoria and a special adviser on policy at the Maritime Forces Pacific, where
we first encountered him. This is in the context of looking at the pivot to
Asia, as it is described, in terms of trade, but here at this committee we focus
more on the defence and security side of it. I see you brought a document with
slides. They will not be up on the screen for our viewing audience to see, but
we will walk through it. We invite you to begin. Thank you very much for making
this trip. We appreciate it.
James A. Boutilier, Professor, Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives,
University of Victoria, Special Advisor (Policy) at the Maritime Forces Pacific,
as an individual: Thank you very much, madam chair and distinguished members
of the committee.
While I serve as the Asia-Pacific adviser to the Commander Maritime Forces
Pacific, I come before you this afternoon as a long-time student of the
Asia-Pacific maritime arena. Quite clearly, the details of Canadian naval policy
in the region are the province of the Commander Royal Canadian Navy and his
Let me provide one or two quick contextual comments before I go into the main
elements of my brief.
I think one can argue that this is the maritime century and that
increasingly, interstate affairs will be highly related to affairs at sea,
whether it is in the commercial realm or the naval realm.
Second, I would suggest that naval assets — maritime assets, broadly speaking
— will be extraordinarily important in terms of our national welfare.
In this presentation, we see that the dramatic, profound and rapid shift in
the world centre of economic gravity has been matched by an equally profound
shift in the world centre of military and, in this context, maritime gravity. As
the first feature of that phenomenon, we see that the old front-line navies have
declined dramatically, certainly in their numerical size. One can theologically
argue that the individual assets, frigates, submarines, destroyers and so forth
are much more capable now than they were 20 or 40 years ago.
Also, I think — and I do not believe this is a glib response — that you
cannot have a destroyer in two places at the same time. There is a quality about
quantity. When you were on the West Coast, I cited an example of the Royal Navy,
which had 152 frigates and destroyers in 1962; it now has 19. Similarly, when we
look at the greatest navy on the face of the earth, the United States Navy, in
the mid-1980s, under a forward-leaning Secretary of the Navy, John Lehman and a
highly supportive U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, there was a plan for a 600-ship
navy. This was a pale imitation of the 6,000 ships in the U.S. Navy in 1945.
Nevertheless, a 600-ship navy was suitably impressive. Of course in 1985, 1986,
we were starting towards the very height of the Cold War. There were equally
impressive statistics with respect to the Soviet Navy not only in the Atlantic,
but also increasingly in the Pacific.
Of course, the Cold War came to an end before the 600-ship navy was ever
realized, but when we look some 25 or 26 years later at the largest navy on the
face of the earth, we would be lucky if we had perhaps 275 ships.
One can quite clearly say that within that context are 11 of the greatest
aircraft carriers on the face of the earth, a breathtaking array of operational
experience and so forth. However, the fact of the matter remains that as part
and parcel of the global shift in maritime power, we can see that the navies
upon which we have traditionally depended — and upon which the Royal Canadian
Navy has depended and alongside which it has worked — have declined dramatically
in size. Indeed, not so long ago, The Economist newspaper in the United
Kingdom published a graph that showed the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy
surpassing the United States Navy in overall size. Once again, one can argue
this is only a gross, and in many ways misleading, comparison on the basis of
What we see in the case of the Chinese navy is that China stands at the heart
of the second great wave of globalization and that, in the past 30 years, we
have had a stellar increase in Chinese economic capability. Much of this is
export-led, and the oceans of the world, which in the Chinese cosmos of the past
were seen as barriers are now seen perforce as the roots to opportunity. The
untrammelled movement of commercial cargoes out of China and the importation of
raw materials and energy into China are critical for sustaining the Chinese
As I suggested to you earlier in the year, we have a profound reorientation
of the national axis of interest of Japan, China, and also India, away from
China, towards the sea. We have an unprecedented situation in East Asia,
powerful navies in India, China and Japan. If you look at the statistics for
arms sales, they are compelling and overwhelming in the Asia-Pacific region
compared with elsewhere in the globe. The dynamic economies of the region have
afforded the states opportunity to go upmarket, and expansion of regional navies
is very much a feature of what I will call the Indo-Pacific region. Why
Indo-Pacific? I think these are two very distinct oceanic regimes, but they have
now become inextricably linked by virtue of flows of energy and by the naval
ambitions particularly of the Chinese and the Indians. I think we need to think
in terms of those two oceans as a grand maritime couplet in terms of larger
Some would argue that we are witnessing a naval arms race, that we have moved
beyond sheer modernization to an action-reaction phenomenon, where the purchases
or development of weapons in one country lead to equal developments in
neighbouring countries. We can perhaps see this particularly in the realm of
submarines. Virtually all the navies of the region have gone upmarket, and a
feature of that shift has been the appearance of submarines. Vietnam, for
example, acquired six sophisticated Kilo Class submarines from the Russians; the
Indonesians acquired submarines from South Korea, which in fact are variants on
German 209s, 212s, 214s, and so forth. The Indians with their own indigenous
nuclear and conventional program have a significant number of submarines being
built in China.
We have in Pentagon parlance a submarine-rich environment in East Asia, at
the very time that in broad terms we have lost sight of the submarine threat and
of the need to hone our ASW capabilities. I do not direct that reference
specifically to the Royal Canadian Navy but to navies in general, because of
course in the 1990s, in the post-Cold War era, we saw our principal threats
coming in the form of air attack and missiles, but we now find ourselves
confronted with well over 200 operational submarines in the Indo-Pacific region,
and from an ASW perspective the waters of the region are particularly
challenging. They are complex geographically; in many cases they are shallow.
New and quiet air-independent propulsion conventional submarines are very
difficult to track. This is a source of mounting concern to the United States
navy in particular as it begins to move its assets into the region.
I suggest in my presentation that a feature of Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific
landscape is the dramatic increase in commercial shipping. Indeed, were we to go
back to probably the rear pages of The Globe and Mail in 1983, almost 30
years ago, we would see a tiny article that suggested that trans-Pacific
commercial trade had exceeded that across the Atlantic — almost 30 years ago,
ladies and gentlemen. Now it is three and a half times as great as the trade
across the Atlantic.
Indeed, if you go to Los Angeles/Long Beach in California, something like
25,000 trailer trucks a day pull away bound for the Costcos and Walmarts of this
world, part of the larger relationship between the North American economies and
the economies of Asia and, more specifically until recently, of China. The
export-led economy of China demanded this sort of shipping capacity.
I suggest in my presentation to you that if we look at the statistics, if we
were to look at the year 2002, we would probably find that five or possibly six
of the leading ports of the world were in Asia, and now it is eight of the top
ten ports in the world, whether it is Singapore, Shanghai, Busan, Kaohsiung in
Taiwan and so forth. These are monster ports, which make Vancouver, our largest
port, look like a modest backwater.
Singapore moves probably 30 million TEUs, that is to say the conventional
20-foot equivalent units, every year. As a sidebar, it is interesting to note
that they have not lost one minute to work stoppages in the past 35 years, which
is telling in and of itself. A feature of China's new-found discovery of the sea
and of sea power in the broadest sense of the word is that within the next few
years China will probably be the largest shipbuilder on the face of the earth.
One can argue that the South Koreans or the Japanese are perhaps somewhat
more sophisticated shipbuilders in terms of LNG tankers or cruise ships and so
forth, but when it comes to commercial shipping, by and large, it is the Chinese
who will come to dominate the landscape. This of course creates the circumstance
that enables them to build the Chinese navy and indeed to sell warships to other
nations in Asia, for example, Pakistan.
If we go to the junction between the Indian and Pacific oceans, that is to
say the Strait of Malacca, an extraordinarily narrow, confined waterway that
links the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea, an area that is contested in its
own right — of which more in a moment — we see that there are probably upwards
of 70,000 ships, large and small, that ply through that strait every year. That
number is scheduled to rise to about 140,000 probably by the mid-2020s. It is
quite astonishing to imagine that density of traffic anywhere in Canadian
I allude in passing to the importance of Vancouver, and Vancouver's growth
continues to be impressive, but by Asian standards Vancouver is still, as I
suggest, a very modest port. What we see, of course, is that the evolution of
Prince Rupert has begun to amend the overall port capacity, particularly in
Western Canada, and this is certainly critical as part of the larger maritime
landscape in the Indo-Pacific region.
What I would suggest further is that that Indo-Pacific region has become
increasingly problematic and brittle as a maritime environment, that, whereas
the Atlantic is small, empty, non-confrontational, if we go into the Pacific, we
probably see more than 50,000 islands, 70-plus maritime disputes with respect to
offshore resources, contested boundaries and ownership of islands. It is an
excruciatingly complex region jurisdictionally and geographically. What we see
is that many of the interstate disputes are being played out at sea, and in some
cases these are deeply disturbing, deeply worrying, cat-and-mouse encounters
that involve the loss of life at sea and the exchange of naval gunfire.
What I have before you, of course, is a compelling photo of what was left of
the front half of a South Korean corvette sunk in March of 2010 by the North
Koreans. I think the evidence is overwhelming that a North Korean submarine
engaged in this provocative act of war by torpedoing the Republic of Korea's
ship, Cheonan. Forty-six sailors died. Of course, it is a measure of the
realities of the Korean Peninsula that other than fulminating there was little
the South Koreans could do. Were they to react, they were possibly inviting
overall peninsular war.
This is only one of many episodes in which ships have been damaged or sunk
over the past decade in Asian waters. Nothing comparable exists in the Atlantic
or even in the Indian Ocean.
I go on to suggest that there is an array of issues that are particularly
compelling, particularly a source of concern.
You will have seen, of course, that there have been major tensions between
Tokyo and Beijing over three tiny islets, the Senkaku Islands. One can argue
that historically there was a lack of specificity at the end of the Second World
War regarding ownership of these islands. If you are able to ensure ownership,
then of course that confers upon you, as you are well aware, under the UN
Convention on the Law of the Sea, an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical
miles with enormous implications in terms of subsea energy, oil and gas. Of
course, if we look at China, for example, we see that in the next 25 to 30
years, 50 per cent of the global demand for oil will come from China alone.
Perhaps this will be tempered somewhat by the recent turndown in Chinese
economic performance, but what we see is that the Senkakus illustrated here are
only part of a much larger array of disputes that involve, for example, Manila
and Beijing, in which the Chinese have employed state oceanic administration
vessels, which in many cases are nearly the size of our frigates, to advance
their interests. One could argue that by holding back the Chinese navy and by
using these sorts of semi-military or paramilitary proxies, they have tried to
calibrate the degree of tension between the claimants.
Of course, what is particularly worrisome in a third of the examples I cite
is that the Chinese are in the process of offering exploration blocks off
Vietnam to international oil companies when those blocks are claimed by the
Vietnamese. How these exercises in exploration and exploitation will play out
very much remains to be seen. One reason the Vietnamese have acquired submarines
is to give the Chinese cause for reflection.
Then we see the whole question of the so-called pivot to Asia. Some would
argue we are going through our own pivot here in Ottawa with respect to our
newfound interest in the region; this is certainly reflected in the Prime
Minister's sorties into Asia. Many in Washington would prefer that the word
``pivot'' was not used. They would maintain what is happening is that, after
Washington's interests were deflected by events in southwest Asia, Iraq and
Afghanistan, the Americans are simply reasserting in a more profound manner
their interests in the region, that they were always there.
Although I must confess there were anxieties on the part of many of the
regional players as to whether they would stay the course, the Americans are now
back. This is illustrated powerfully by President Obama's presence in Myanmar —
or Burma — and now in Cambodia, and by the fact that Secretary of State Clinton
has been extraordinarily active in travelling throughout the region, as have the
various defence secretaries, such as Gates and Panetta. If we go back as far as
2006, we see that the quadrennial defence review mandated by Congress pointed to
the fact that the future lay in Asia and that the United States Navy should
begin to distribute its resources asymmetrically into the region — six carriers,
with five in the Atlantic, and perhaps 60 per cent of the United States Navy
submarine capability, and so forth.
One important element of all of this is the evolution of what I would call
the Washington-New Delhi axis. This may be putting an undue or unfair element of
formality — it is not an axis as such. However, the fact remains that the past
decade has seen a new relationship emerge between the United States and India,
which has enormous implications, and it is primarily maritime in its outlook. We
see major exercises in the Indian Ocean involving the Indian navy, the
Americans, Australians, Singaporeans and, tellingly, the Japanese.
From the perspective of the Chinese, who would argue that the growth of their
navy is absolutely justified and in keeping with the history of other great
nations on the rise, Beijing would argue that they are witnessing an unwarranted
containment — what I call ``containment light.'' When they look out from
Beijing, they see the Americans in South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Guam,
increasingly in the Philippines, Australia, Singapore, conceivably in Burma in
the future, certainly in India, Pakistan, even in the central Asian republics,
and Mongolia. They would maintain that this is an artifact of the Cold War —
that the attitude of the Americans is one in which China's legitimate ambitions
are being unfairly checked.
I think what has happened is that Washington has gone to considerable lengths
to try to reassure Beijing. However, at the same time, there is a profound
substratum of distress in the trans-Pacific relationship, which Washington has
not succeeded in dispelling.
A feature of the area is that the Chinese have developed — and it is only one
aspect of a much more complex maritime environment — what is called the Dong
Feng 21D. This is a ballistic missile that the Chinese maintain they have
modified to the degree that when it re-enters the Earth's atmosphere, it is
manoeuvrable and can take out a U.S. naval carrier. This, in the iconic words of
the great Hollywood movie Dirty Harry, is designed to make your day.
There are those who are skeptical about China's technical accomplishments in
this realm, but many senior officials in the United States Navy are taking this
You see references in the literature to the so-called Air-Sea Battle
Doctrine. I think this is a murky and ill-defined American doctrine for the
moment. Perhaps it suggests the prevalence of common sense that the Americans
are in no hurry to put combat forces onto the Asian continent and that in the
future, they will have to depend on sea and air capabilities.
The Chinese are pursuing the standard strategy of a weaker naval power in the
sense that they are trying to deny access to the Asian coast, to hold U.S.
carriers at bay with weapons like the Dong Feng 21, an array of submarines,
cruise missiles and so on and so forth.
What we see throughout the region is a profound strategic ambiguity. That is
to say that if we go to Australia, we find that China is Australia's number one
trade partner in iron ore, uranium, a vast array of other minerals, et cetera,
which flow out of this continental storehouse of Australia and underwrite the
continued growth of the Chinese economy. However, the great security access for
Canberra does not lie to Beijing; it lies to Washington. Therefore, this is a
complex and potentially contradictory triangle of power.
If you go to almost every other nation in Asia, you find that China is the
number one trade partner, having supplanted the United States in the past 10 to
15 years. However, all of the nations in the region are keeping their powder dry
because they do not know China's end game. This is certainly true in India.
China is rapidly becoming India's number one trade partner, but if you talk to
senior security analysts in New Delhi, there is only one word in their lexicon,
and that is ``China.''
Therefore, there is a profound sense of ambiguity as to what the future
holds. Throughout the region, there is a disturbing legacy of history. Whereas
in Europe the Germans have moved in a moment of maturity beyond the terrifying
legacy of the Hitler era, this is not the case in the Pacific. Still the wounds
of World War II are kept alive, either artificially or otherwise; the Japanese
have, frankly, been maladroit in their handling of the World War II legacy, and
the Chinese have been extremely ready to raise the spectre of the rape of
Nanjing and other terrible experiences in their interstate relations.
Right across the region there is the problem of history. Uncertainties or
debates with respect to history also underpin many of the maritime disputes,
with the various players all alluding to their historical claims, none of which
could probably stand international legal scrutiny.
One of the great exercises of the region is RIMPAC, the Rim of the Pacific.
You may very well have been briefed on the enormity of this exercise — vast
armadas of ships and vast arrays of men and women, aircraft, and so forth. I
would suggest to you that in the Cold War there was a clear anti-Soviet
narrative that underpinned RIMPAC. Now I would suggest that, while it is
certainly not expressed in public terms, it is probably an anti-Chinese
narrative. Interestingly enough, we see that the Americans have extended an
invitation to China to be an observer in RIMPAC in the future.
What are the challenges for Canada? I will leave the specifics of naval
policy, as I suggested, to the Commander of the Navy; he is ideally suited to
address these issues. However, we see that there is a new and challenging arena,
in terms of commercial shipping, defence acquisitions, the growth of navies,
unresolved disputes, and setting nations one against another at sea. There are
sidebar issues with respect to submarine resources, with respect to fish, with
respect to illegal movements of people, piracy and so forth, all of which
suggest that we need, as a nation, to pay particular attention to this part of
The great beauty about CPAR, about naval vessels, is that they are superbly
nuanced and calibrated agents in the sense that there is no other weapons system
that I am aware of which can, in fact, move literally, within minutes, from
hosting some diplomatic naval reception to engaging in search and rescue or
humanitarian assistance and disaster relief or hunting for pirates and so forth.
Naval vessels are by their very nature extraordinarily potent vessels in terms
of telegraphing national resolve, and history, I think, has underscored this
Thank you very much.
The Chair: Thank you very much. That was a very complete setting of
the stage. Just as we begin our questioning, and I know our time is short today,
you sort of left it there. Is it a pivot or reassertion, in your view, on the
part of the Americans? What is it for us?
Mr. Boutilier: What is it for us? I think it is first and foremost a
The Chair: For Canada as well?
Mr. Boutilier: Yes, and I think that after many years in which Canada
was otherwise engaged, Canada has begun to come to grips very recently, within
the past year or so within the defence realm in specific terms, to the
challenges of Asia. One of the problems, of course, in Asia, as you can imagine,
is that there is no NATO framework. The area is huge geographically. There is no
consensus in who constitutes the enemy the way there was in the Cold War. It is
a challenging arena in terms of how do we engage.
Senator Dallaire: I notice you mentioned fishing as merely a sidebar,
yet in food stocks in Asian countries, fish is a major staple. The fish off our
coast are not insignificant in the Pacific and can, in fact, attract significant
frictions, let alone all the other dimensions you mentioned of economy, such as
movement of fuel from this country and natural resources and stuff coming back.
My point is that the navy has as the Maritime Component Commander the
commander of the fleet on the East Coast. The generic threat assessment based on
activity, let alone actual articulating of a threat, is the Pacific versus the
Atlantic, with the Mediterranean still being a problem. I do not see why the
Maritime Component Commander should be on the East Coast. I would contend that
more of the lessons to be learned, more of the work and making RIMPAC a more
mature exercise are on the West Coast. There is no equivalent to you on the East
Coast with the Maritime Component Commander, which is not insignificant. I do
not know how much more capacity the Armed Forces or DND possess.
What I am leading to is that it has taken years to build a balance between
the two coasts because the poor cousin was always the West Coast. What is behind
the reticence of moving more assets to the West Coast and building that
capability there in Esquimalt or maybe even taking part in Prince Rupert to
building more capacity for the navy?
Mr. Boutilier: That is a very interesting and appropriate question,
general. Let me address several aspects of it.
Let me talk momentarily about fish. If we go to Southeast Asia, 80 per cent
of the population of 500 million derive their protein from the sea. If you go
all the way up the Asian coast, you find that fish stocks are in danger. The
catches are declining in size, the number of species is declining and the size
of the individual fish is declining.
There is a further element in all of this, and that is that climate change is
warming the world's oceans, and fish are beginning to migrate towards the poles.
A growing number of tropical nations will find it harder and harder to acquire
fish. About 60 per cent of the world's stock of fish is now at or beyond
carrying capacity. What you are beginning to see — and this is a real challenge
for navies and coast guards — is the fact that illegal and unreported fishing is
now increasingly rampant. This is a major threat. Right across the world, we
will be faced with the politics of scarcity when it comes to fish stocks.
That is a source of growing national concern for many nations, particularly
in East Asia. If you go to China, for example, you will find 300,000 fishing
boats in their fishing fleet. As a sidebar, those boats have, in many cases,
been pressed into service as proxies in the disputes over places like the
Senkaku. If you look at the final photograph in my handout, you will see a
compelling picture of two Japanese coast guard vessels coming to grips with a
Chinese fishing boat.
There are some other issues. I will leave the larger policy issue of the
balancing of the fleet to the commander of RCN. There are the dictates of
geography in the sense of access to the Arctic, for example. Is it easier from
Halifax? Is it easier from Esquimalt? If you go from Halifax to the Indian
Ocean, you can go all the way to Chennai, or Madras, at one time, on the eastern
flank of the Indian subcontinent, and that is the make-and-break point between
Halifax, on the one hand, and Esquimalt on the other. One can argue that you can
just as effectively service the whole of the Mediterranean, the Horn of Africa
and so on from the East Coast as you can from the West Coast.
These are some features of global maritime geography that are worth bearing
in mind, I think, when it comes to how ships are deployed. I will leave the
specifics because that is really a policy issue that needs to be dealt with, and
there are historic reasons why, in fact, the fleets were asymmetric in their
Senator Dallaire: You met the threat in the past. This growing threat
and uncertainty is now in the West. Why is there that shift? You are an
intellectual scientist in providing strategic guidance to these flag officers.
Why is that not simply recognized in that action being taken?
Mr. Boutilier: I think that argument has been advanced. The
countervailing argument is our NATO commitment and other things — this was
certainly borne out in Libya and in the current presence of vessels in the
eastern Mediterranean or in the Persian Gulf — and that there were other equally
compelling arguments for the maintenance of a presence in the Atlantic. Again, I
think that is a policy issue that is best addressed by the commander of the
The Chair: He will be a witness for us soon.
Mr. Boutilier: That is good, and I am sure he will come to grips with
Senator Mitchell: With respect to CNOOC buying Nexen, if China is a
threat, how does that fit into that?
Mr. Boutilier: This is part of this larger issue of ambiguity. I
talked about geostrategic ambiguity. Now we are moving into a commercial,
political ambiguity. One can make compelling arguments that China is an
unparalleled opportunity. Indeed, one could argue that in the past decade, the
world economic vitality would have suffered far more profoundly if it had not
been for the dynamism of China. We go back to 2001-02 when a major global
downturn was anticipated but did not occur as a result of Chinese economic
One can make the compelling argument that China is an opportunity. One can
make the equally compelling argument that it is a threat. One of the important
things to bear in mind is the prevalence and the pervasive presence of the party
It is very much the same as if the Democratic Party in the United States
controlled, for example, the appointment of all university presidents, the
editors of all newspapers, the presidency or CEO-ships of all major
corporations. That reality causes people to be concerned. One can argue that
there are checks and balances, and I think that the Chinese have gone to some
considerable lengths to try to tailor their offers to meet the realities of the
Of course, this is not the only country where there have been hesitations
about Chinese involvement. We can see, back more than a decade ago, Chinese
overtures to Unocal in Texas, and that was turned down by Washington.
It becomes even more complex when we move into weapons systems, computer
systems and so forth, to what degree we should permit their presence in North
America. More and more evidence is forthcoming that hacking attacks and so on
originate out of China.
I think clearly the CNOOC-Nexen issue is a decision that must be made at the
senior-most levels in the political realm. It is somewhat removed from the
maritime realm, other than of course it is part and parcel of China's insatiable
demand for energy.
Just to conclude, I would say that the Chinese have embarked on an
exceedingly impressive worldwide diversification of energy over the past 15
years, with energy coming out of Iraq, Iran, Angola, Sudan, Central Asia,
Russia, Venezuela and Colombia. Their interest in energy in Canada is not
surprising in any way. They are eager to, first, meet demand and, second,
diversify to the extent that their ship-borne imports of energy will not be
confined to one or two, for example, choke points like the Strait of Malacca,
where they could be interdicted, one of the reasons for the whole complex energy
politics with Central Asia.
Senator Mitchell: The U.S. has an interest in this relationship with
CNOOC. In fact, today I read that Senator McCain suggested that the Parliament
of Canada should look at this carefully. How intense are they about that,
really, and what does that do to our relationship with them?
Mr. Boutilier: This is straying a long way from maritime issues, I
have to confess, but I think there are arguments in some quarters that the
Chinese will not forget if we do not embrace their offers. However, these are
the hard challenges of the marketplace, I think. I know that other nations, like
Australia, are also subject to overtures, although I think probably in broad
terms the Chinese have made more headway in Australia in mining and energy than
The Chair: Thank you for keeping that brief and getting us back on
Senator Lang: I will turn back to the maritime issues and the navy and
the size of our navy. I am not clear in your presentation here just exactly
where you are recommending that the Royal Canadian Navy go in respect of their
fleet and what they have. As you know, the government has made a major
commitment to revitalize the navy and is in the process of putting that in
Taking it from that point of view, are you satisfied that, within the limits
of our financial capabilities, we are going in the right direction?
Second, with the four submarines we have, in conjunction with the other 196
or 200 that are in the Pacific, will that suffice from our point of view as a
country in the contribution and trying to maintain a presence? In particular,
you have referred to the Chinese as a threat a number of times during your
presentation. Maybe you would comment on that.
Mr. Boutilier: Once again, I think this is really the province of the
commander of the navy. What I would suggest, however, is that our submarines can
be seen within the larger context of an arena in which submarines are becoming
increasingly prevalent. The fact is that virtually all the nations of the world
in that region are moving into the submarine realm. Even Singapore, which has a
population equal to metro Toronto, has missile boats, frigates, corvettes and
submarines. It also has a budget too large to spend in defence.
If you look at the highly aspirational and ambitious defence plans in
Australia, for example, we see that their intention is to increase their number
of submarines from 6 to 12. A whole host of issues have affected the Collins
Class in Australia, whether it is the availability of crews or technical
challenges and so forth. It is a measure of how Canberra sees the nature of the
maritime threat that one of the principal areas in which they want to move is to
increase submarine capability.
Submarines, I think, will be increasingly part of the currency of the region.
I know that in the case of the United States Navy they leased from Sweden a boat
and its entire crew to operate on the California coast to begin to give the
United States Navy — this was some years ago — experience in anti-submarine
warfare. This is a particularly challenging issue.
It is also interesting to see that the Russians, who have some major
ambitions in revitalizing their aging fleet, are beginning to move some of their
newer generation of boats into the Pacific. Originally, if we were to go back 10
years, they were all to be in the White Sea in the northwestern corner of
Russia. Suffice to say, I am sure all commanders would like to have more assets.
Within that context, submarines, I think, will be very important.
My general thrust to you all is that in this maritime century navies are
going to be critical in advancing the interests of the nations of the region.
Senator Nolin: Thank you, professor, for coming to Ottawa.
Mr. Boutilier: I am flattered.
Senator Nolin: After hearing you in Esquimalt and here, I think it is
Canada's interest in trade in the Pacific is no secret. What about the
defence alliances? I do not know whether you have written publicly on the
subject. I would be interested if you have. What are your views on Canada's
interests in developing an alliance, multilateral alliances, similar to what we
have in the Atlantic or the Pacific? Should we go bilateral only?
Mr. Boutilier: As I suggested, one of the challenges in the region is
there is no equivalent to NATO. There is no framework into which we can plug in
terms of our larger effort. I would suggest to you that, over the past 10 years,
there has been a compelling shift in attitudes. Whereas, perhaps in the 1990s,
we saw it as a uni-polar world with the Americans taking the lead, now our
American colleagues are increasingly forthright and candid about the fact that
no nation can do it on their own.
If we go back some five or six years, we see the thousand-ship navy concept,
which was really a mythological concept. What it did was to place a premium on
cooperation. Americans are particularly eager to cooperate with like-minded
nations in the region. One of the things that facilitates that, to some degree,
is that nations like Japan and South Korea all have, as a common denominator,
close association with the United States Navy, for example, over many decades.
Thus we find that Australians, New Zealanders, increasingly Singaporeans,
Japanese, South Koreans, Canadians, all have some degree of commonality by
virtue of having worked closely with the United States Navy.
I think Americans would argue, among other things, maintaining peace and
stability at sea, addressing an increasing array of challenges like humanitarian
assistance and disaster relief in the region, all place a premium on naval
I wrote a piece recently, which I anticipate NATO will publish, arguing that
cooperation at sea is perhaps one of the ways we can begin to build
relationships in East Asia. Of course, the beauty of naval cooperation is that
it is — not to put too fine a point on it — out of sight, out of mind. It is not
a contentious issue in the sense that land-based operations or exercises are.
One can make an argument that there are many issues, whether it is fisheries
patrols or search and rescue or humanitarian assistance, as illustrated in the
great Indonesian tsunami of 2004, where navies should work together.
Indeed, we have begun to get some movement in that arena with the
serendipitous collaboration of an amazing array of vessels off the Horn of
Africa in anti-piracy operations. Thus we find Chinese, American, Russian,
Singaporean vessels all interacting. The levels of interaction are pretty
minimal, to say the least, but it is a start. I have argued that I think we
should do everything we can to try to foster greater confidence building and
collaboration at sea involving the navies of the region.
I do not see formal alliances appearing at sea any time in the future, but I
certainly see that the whole trend in senior naval thinking across the region is
to place a premium on collaboration and cooperation.
Senator Nolin: You said you wrote a piece and that NATO will publish
Mr. Boutilier: Yes. I was invited by the NATO Defense College to write
a piece. They produce a regular series of opinion pieces. One issue that
confronts NATO, not to put too fine a point on it, is what is the future of NATO
after Afghanistan. Is there a future in Asia? The fact that NATO is in
Afghanistan would have been, in the early 1990s, absolutely, utterly
unthinkable, but now we see a situation where NATO is looking to recreate
Recently I was in Rome lecturing to an audience of generals, flag officers
and ambassadors, and much to my delight, in the audience was a Chinese rear
admiral. This is an initiative on the part of the NATO Defense College to reach
out, as they have already done to Australians and Japanese and others, the
so-called NATO contact nations in Asia, to China. It is very much a
work-in-progress, but it seems to me that maritime cooperation is one of the
most promising arenas in which to begin building, softly, softly, a greater
sense of community at sea.
The Chair: On that note, are there any other structures? There are
lots of Asian trade organizations. Is there any structure? Is RIMPAC actually a
Mr. Boutilier: It is in the sense that it remains a work-in-progress.
No sooner has this year's RIMPAC come to an end than they are planning the next
one. One structure you may not have encountered in your work is the Western
Pacific Naval Symposium. Canada is a full member of that symposium. This brings
together the heads of almost all the major navies in the Pacific Ocean. There is
an Indian Ocean subset or equivalent, in a way, but this gives a real
opportunity for heads of navies to interact, and they are, for example, trying
to look at ways to avoid the unpleasant circumstances associated with unexpected
encounters or collisions at sea, the sort of thing they did during the Cold War
with the Incidents at Sea Agreement with the Soviets. They are also looking at
basic, low-level communications documents that would give Western Pacific naval
fleets, whether it is China, Australia or Chile, interoperability. Of course, we
have had documents of this sort in NATO for decades. The WPNS, as it is called,
Western Pacific Naval Symposium, I think is quite promising as a launch point
for greater cooperation at sea.
The Chair: We have gone over our time, but I appreciate all of the
information you have managed to cram into that brief time. I think we are all
better for it. Thank you, Dr. Boutilier, for making this trip and joining us
Mr. Boutilier: I am delighted to support you and happy to do so on any
The Chair: Thank you so much. We will officially adjourn our meeting.
(The committee adjourned.)