Vanguard Magazine

Vanguard October/November 2020

Preserving capacity, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Keys to Canadian SAR

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46 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2020 the last word as a communications relay and ice surveil- lance platform was shelved to acquire a tactical UAV in support of the army. The CDS asked his commanders what they would recommend he advise the Prime Minister (PM). Collectively they stated that the PM needs to advise the President of the USA (POTUS) that there is an im- minent strategic nuclear threat operating in the Canadian Arctic, that Canada has no capability to deal with the threat, and request the USA to urgently deploy SSNs and supporting systems to deal with the threat. This was not a call that the CDS wanted to make. Future Two It was a dark January evening in 2030 when the CDS took the secure call from the Commander Canadian Joint Forces Command (CJOC). The Commander CJOC advised the CDS that the fixed sentinel sensors in the approaches to the Canadian Arctic had detected a SLAM- MER-class SSBN and a THUMPER-class SSGN entering Canadian waters. He fur- ther indicated that they both appeared to be transiting towards the Gulf of Boothia. Given the current increase in world ten- sion, the Commander CJOC advised the CDS that he had ordered the launch of the CANSTRAT UAV from Iqaluit to act as a communications relay for the TROUT long-range strategic UUVs that had been deployed to trail the intruders. Anticipated intercept in about 24 hours. The Commander of the RCN joined the conversation and indicated that she had or- dered the new Canadian submarine Mani- toba, now on acceptance trials and oper- ating in the vicinity of the Hudson Strait, to chop to CJOCs control in support. She reminded the CDS that the Manitoba, a submarine designed and built to Canadian, not foreign requirements was able to oper- ate under the ice and also carried the PIKE UUV, which could be deployed in support of the TROUT UUVs. Finally, at this point, the Commander of the RCN stated that HMCS DeWolf, the lead Arctic Patrol Vessel, had been or- dered to deploy and to chop to CJOC for support as she also carried the TROUT long-range UUV. The CDS thanked the commanders. In thanking the command- ers, he opined that, when he was VCDS, he did not support all of this Arctic and homeland defence capability or indeed the new submarines as he was, by nature, inclination, and culture focused on land operations mostly in support of NATO in Europe. He had not realized how complex maritime and air issues were or indeed the complexity of the Arctic and the critical role the Arctic plays in Canadian defence and security. On thanking his command- ers, the CDS called the PM advising that an SSBN and an SSGN had entered Cana- dian territorial and internal waters coun- ter to international law, that they both had been identified and that sub-surface, surface, and air resources have been de- ployed to track and to shadow the two in- truders. The CDS also reminded the PM that the TROUT-class UUV was armed and two were expected to be in firing range of the intruders within 24 hours. The PM thanked the CDS, directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to engage the appropriate diplomatic actions, and called the POTUS. Which of these endings would Cana- dians want? Do Canadians understand the potential risks of not focusing on the Arctic and the sub-surface maritime envi- ronment? It is hoped that the Deep Blue Forum will be the first of many successful events that will bring these issues into Ca- nadian public debate. Captain(N) Ian Parker (Retired) is Director Naval Affairs for the Naval Association of Canada. Her Majesty's Canadian Submarine (HMCS) Windsor transits Halifax Harbour with the MacDonald Bridge in the background in preparation for the Canadian Leaders at Sea (CLaS) Program on 14 December 2017 in Halifax, NS. Photo: DND

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