Feds set aside $1.6 billion for outside help with military challenges - InfoNews

Current Conditions


Feds set aside $1.6 billion for outside help with military challenges

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan speaks at an announcement on fighter jets at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017. Sajjin has put out a call for proposals aimed at dealing with defence and security threats. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
April 09, 2018 - 12:05 PM

CALGARY - The federal government is asking universities, companies and others to help the military with several pressing challenges, including how to better treat PTSD, increase female recruitment, monitor Canada's waterways and defend against cyberattacks.

The request was made by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on Monday and comes with some hefty financial incentives: $313 million for various projects over the next five years and a total $1.6 billion over the next 20 years.

"Our government will look beyond the traditional defence community and scientists and look to all Canadians to find the solutions we need to support, equip and train our service members," Sajjan said at the University of Calgary.

The Liberals initially announced the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security program in last year's defence policy, but potential partners are only now being allowed to apply for funding and begin working in earnest.

The government has identified a total of 16 specific defence and security challenges that it hopes to address with the initial funds, which also includes working with artificial intelligence and improving soldier performance.

"Innovation, technology and research are critical to Canada's security and safety," Sajjan said. "They help us mitigate threats, stay ahead of our enemies and meet evolving security challenges around the world."

The previous Conservative government made a concerted push to grow the defence industry by setting aside millions of dollars to develop new products for global markets, particularly in areas where Canada already had an advantage.

But defence officials said during a technical briefing that the new funds aren't specifically intended to support industry, but to come up with solutions to problems facing the military more quickly; any commercial benefits will be a bonus.

Sajjan nonetheless indicated that the government would make allowances to help companies and others develop their ideas, including testing products in the field with the Canadian Forces.

The list of areas that the government is targeting also includes monitoring social media, identifying the source of cyberattacks, non-GPS navigation and identifying objects in space.

Canada's defence industry has seen several hits and misses in recent years, including several deals that have raised questions about human rights and Canada's moral standing.

Those include a $15-billion contract with Saudi Arabia for the provision of light-armoured vehicles and the planned sale of military helicopters to the Philippines, which Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped following an uproar in early February.

The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, which represents about 800 defence companies, says the sector employs about 63,000 people and generates $10 billion in annual revenues — 60 per cent of which come from exports.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • Woman found dead in car in Kamloops
    KAMLOOPS - A woman has been found dead and two men have been taken to hospital after they were found in a car playing loud music early this morning. Kamloops RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Jodi Shel
  • Kamloops RCMP seek missing man
    KAMLOOPS - Police in Kamloops are asking for the public's help to find a missing man. James Harris, 53, has not been in contact with family or friends since late March and he was last se
  • Searching for a stranger: Dozens of people brought in by bus to look for Ryan Shtuka
    SUN PEAKS - It's been nearly 10 weeks since Ryan Shtuka went missing in the Sun Peaks area after leaving a house party on Burfield Drive, but volunteers are still showing up in droves hoping t
  • Kelowna RCMP investigating brutal downtown assault
    KELOWNA - A Kelowna man who witnessed a brutal assault by a group of young men on a lone male in downtown Kelowna on the weekend says he feels like he came close to seeing a murder in progress.
  • Broncos families surprised obituaries are on website selling services
    Some families of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims are surprised to learn that error-riddled obituaries of their loved ones have been posted on a website that's selling flowers, as well as on
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile