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We Address Three Core Policy Challenges

Defence in the Arctic

Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) describes the Arctic as an “important international crossroads where issues of climate change, international trade, and global security meet,” and commits to “increase CAF presence in the Arctic over the long-term and work cooperatively with Arctic partners.” NAADSN helps to discern ways to implement and operationalize this policy direction, generate and provide immediate access to leading-edge research, and test assumptions about the changing security environment on all scales: international, regional, national, and local. Adopting a nuanced and multifaceted definition of security, we help DND/CAF plan and prepare for search and rescue, emergency management and disaster response, and foreign influence or intelligence gathering activities in ways that respect Indigenous rightsholders, advance reconciliation, and enhance Northerners’ safety and security.

Securing North America and Enhancing Continental Defence

NAADSN critically examines and anticipates emerging threats to North America, across all domains, in the context of continental defence and the CANUS defence relationship. We systematically assess how Canada does, can, and should contribute to North American defence; where Canada can best invest to modernize NORAD and facilitate the evolution of NA defence; and how we can increase public literacy about continental defence. Our research focuses on all-domain situational awareness and innovative options to address capability gaps (both identified and potential), as well as NORAD’s current and future roles in light of renewed strategic competition, emerging technologies, and shifting CANUS defence priorities. If Canada is to remain strong at home and secure in North America, analysis of new threat vectors must be matched by a concerted effort to educate citizens about NORAD.

Climate Change and the Environment

Climate change is the greatest existential threat facing humanity. Strong, Secure, Engaged commits the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) to supporting  broader efforts to address the effects of climate change in Canada and in North America. NAADSN focuses on strategic and operational threats, and particularly the CAF’s roles in responding to climate-related hazards and disasters in rural and isolated communities (as per Canada’s official disaster risk reduction strategy), as well as the implications of a more accessible Arctic for defence and security.

Our Network Structure

NAADSN’s network structure is a series of relationships – of nodes and ties extending from coast to coast to coast within Canada, while also reaching outside to security partners in the United States and Europe.

Our established network connects through the NAADSN Lead, Dr. P. Whitney Lackenbauer and the Network Administrator, Nicholas Glesby at a main hub (Trent University) and NAADSN Co-Leads at three coordinating hubs (Dr. Will Greaves, University of Victoria, Dr. Andrea Charron, University of Manitoba, and Dr. Stéphane Roussel, École nationale d’administration publique), as well as through a Co-Lead/ Indigenous advisor, Bridget Larocque, based in Yellowknife.

Our Network Team is comprised of a core group of Network Coordinators, Fellows, Postdoctoral Fellows, and Research Fellows (students). Researchers work in multi-/inter-disciplinary research clusters organized across three scales (circumpolar and international, North America, and Canada) and around specific topic areas. We have developed an agile network structure so that our team responds efficiently to emerging issues and presents relevant and timely advice to the Defence Team.

Our Northern Advisory Board, comprised of a diverse group of Northern Canadian stakeholders from across Canada’s three northern territories, will ensure that GBA+, Indigenous reconciliation, Indigenous knowledge, and youth considerations inform our research and activities. Furthermore, the next generation of experts and scholars (including students and recent postgraduates) are involved substantively in all NAADSN activities, from research to preparing briefing materials for the Defence Team to public outreach. We continuously engage with Northern Canadians of diverse backgrounds and ages to ensure that they are involved substantively in NAADSN’s Arctic-related projects and activities.

Click here for NAADSN’s report on activities from 2019-2022