Updating Strong, Secure, Engaged

Dr. Andrea Charron, 8 October 2021

There has been much in the news about the AUKUS submarine deal and the suggestion that Canada was or was not "left" out.  It is time for Strong, Secure, Engaged (SSE) to be updated (and it doesn't need to be rewritten - rather a revisit of and status report on the already considerable list of "new" initiatives that were outlined in SSE in 2017).  It is clear, via several joint POTUS-PM statements, that continental defence is the priority which is a contribution to wider defence efforts around the world.  There is a public tendency to require too much of the CAF which is struggling with both serious internal and external challenges.  Now is the time to review the old "new" initiatives and take stock of what is in the realm of possible.  Perhaps the PM and Cabinet will choose to prioritize Asia-Pacific.  If asked, my advice would be to concentrate on the approaches to North America and strengthening NATO-NORAD connections.  Strong at home and Secure in North America are enormous "asks" as it is.  This is not to reject "engaged in the world", but to be realistic about what can be achieved given current commitments, internal upheaval and external challenges of which crisis management related to climate change will be a growing concern.

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