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Strategic Knowledge Exchange

Strategic Knowledge Exchange Summary III, April 2016

On April 11th, 2016, Canada Company held its third Strategic Knowledge Exchange event, which was incorporated into the 2016 Defence Policy Review (DPR) by the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

The Canada Company Strategic Knowledge Exchange is a regular roundtable forum held throughout Canada, and occasionally beyond, for Canada Company members and business leaders to expand their understanding about contemporary and future security environments. These deliberative issue focused briefings create a high level understanding of current and future strategic approaches to security and defence matters and encourage an interactive sharing of views on industry/defence relationships.

Over 60 Canadian business and military leaders were present, and listened to presentations from General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, Mr. John Forster, Deputy Minister of National Defence, and the Honourable John Manley, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada. Participants then moved into breakout groups to discuss three topics:

  1. Economic benefits of defence / defence as a catalyst for the economy;
  2. Innovation and technology; and
  3. Future defence workforce

Strategic Knowledge Exchange II, October 2015

Canada Company Strategic Knowledge Exchange  II took place in Downtown Toronto on October 26th 2015. The Canada Company Strategic Knowledge Exchange is a regular roundtable forum held throughout Canada, and occasionally beyond, for business leaders to expand their understanding about contemporary and future security environments. These deliberative issue-focused briefings create a high level understanding of current and future strategic approaches to security and defence matters and encourage an interactive sharing of views on industry/defence relationships.

Topic of discussion on October 26th was: Can Defence Procurement strategy kick start the Canadian Economy?  Can military procurement be the cornerstone of the new Canadian Economy that, unlike other industries, provides a lift in all regions?

What the  Strategic Knowledge Exchange does is uniquely facilitate the participation of its members and senior military leaders and defence specialists to interact and freely exchange knowledge and understanding of current and emerging issues—it is not a forum for policy development, policy analysis or criticism or a venue for advocacy, lobbying or business development. 

Strategic Knowledge Exchange Summary I, April 2015

Strategic Knowledge Exchange

On Wednesday, April 1st, 2015, Canada Company hosted its inaugural Strategic Knowledge Exchange at the National Club in Toronto, which brought together 50 of Canada’s top military and business leaders. The afternoon’s discussions were held under Chatham House Rule and focused on how Canadian businesses and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) can work together to create and reinforce economic stability and prosperity for Canada.

The first component of the event included presentations from two panels of three speakers, one representing the military perspective, the other representing the business perspective. Presentation topics included the connection between economic prosperity and national security, the future of cyber security, Canadian views of the CAF, an overview of the global security environment, and the domestic and international contexts for Canadian national defence and security.

Following the panel presentations, the participants split into four breakout groups to discuss the issue of military – business collaboration in more detail, and then returned to the group setting to present their findings. Although all of the groups focused on slightly different aspects of developing future military – business collaboration, there were several common themes which emerged from the breakout discussions.

SKEbannerFrom both perspectives, fostering greater cross-cultural understanding was regarded as a necessary first step for future collaboration, as perceived differences between the military and business worlds were often a matter of nomenclature. In some cases, these differences and misunderstandings were enough to discourage potential partnerships. Among the reasons cited were a lack of understanding of organizational differences, and a tendency for the Canadian public to view the Canadian Armed Forces as a “good cause”, suitable for donations, but not necessarily seen as a potential partner for Canadian businesses.

In order to address the cultural gaps between the CAF and Canadian businesses, suggestions included joint meetings at local and national forums; building stable and unambiguous channels of communication between the two groups; developing programs to encourage businesses to hire Veterans and Reservists, in order to incorporate their working knowledge of the CAF into civilian industries; and partnering on areas of overlapping interest/responsibility, such as domestic natural disaster relief, management best practices, and procurement.

There was a strong consensus among participants that greater cooperation and collaboration between the CAF and Canadian businesses would be in the best interests of both parties. In an increasingly complex and integrated global environment, issues such as cyber attacks and international terrorism have begun to alter the way we view security and defence. These problems require a more integrated approach from both governments and citizens, and it is with an eye towards the domestic benefits and international imperatives that both military and business representatives urged for further meetings of this type. In response to this overwhelmingly positive feedback, Canada Company will begin hosting Strategic Knowledge Exchange events twice a year in order to continue fostering discussions about the future of military-business collaboration and cooperation.