Royal Canadian Navy Re: Maritime Security

August 4, 2012 in Blogs

This is an article from a conference  of the Atlantic Conference of CanadaI attended in Toronto in late May of this year, 2012. The several speakers gave a very good account of the role of Canada’s Navy in the modern world, and implications for Canada’s security
From: FrontLine Defence I Issue 4, 2012 I
For the pictures in this article you might go to the website above.

In his opening remarks, formerMinister of National Defence and current ACC Chair, the Honourable Bill Graham, acknowledged that maritime security may not be topical in Toronto, however, he stressed
that maritime security is clearly a national issue considering that most items destined forCanadian shops arrive in a sea container.

Setting the tone for the conference, Graham noted that “many ofCanada’s new immigrants come from the Indo-Pacific regions, an area that is experiencing an extraordinary pace of change and that will
increasingly impact Canada’s economic growth. To manage and take advantage of these changes, Canada needs to identify more with Pacific countries while building on its European ties. We may need our NATO friends to recognize that Canada is as much a Pacific as an Atlantic country.” Recognizing the fiscal consequences of such considerations, Graham reminded attendees that during the 2011 security conference in Halifax, Leon Panetta, U.S.Secretary of Defense, cautioned that new budget realities facing the U.S. will cause a reallocation of maritime resources from Europe to Asia. “Canada has to make similar decisions about its strategic defence options,” advised Graham, who also said he was “looking forward to hearing how this new Canadian maritime reality will resonate among the speakers in today’s conference.”

Canada’s Maritime Borders

Opening the conference,ProfessorWhitney

Lackenbauer, an authority on Arctic affairs at the University of Waterloo, provided an overview of interests among Arctic coastal states: Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia, and the United States. He acknowledged that climate change, energy resources, and potential transit routes are the primary drivers of increasing interest in the Arctic Ocean. Lackenbauer challenged the dominant idea that Canada needs heightened military presence in the Arctic to “defend” its legal sovereignty, noting such commitment would strain Canada’s other defence priorities.He is convinced that Canada should focus on capabilities that serve broader security and safety issues. In terms of Canada’s relationship with the U.S., Lackenbauer emphasized “Canadians need to realize that the Americans are never going to change their public claim to right ofway across the NorthWest Passage (NWP) as a strait available for international navigation. To do so would create a precedent that could have global maritime security consequences in places like the Strait of Hormuz. Nevertheless, Canada and the U.S. will manage their piece of the Arctic maritime domain. After all, both countries have a long tradition of balancing Arctic sovereignty and continental issues in an amicable and mutually beneficial way.”

An example of amicable relations was provided by Mike Dawson, Canadian Policy Advisor to North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD). Dawson outlined how NORAD gives the U.S. and Canada the ability to focus on and be aware of a number of threats across a broad variety of domains – with each nation retaining its sovereign authority to take action on the information relayed to them. From its inception in 1940, the NORADAgreement has undergone several renewals. In May 2006, it was updated to include a maritime warning mission, requiring both countries to share their awareness and understanding of the activities conducted in the U.S. and Canadian maritime approaches, areas and inland waterways.

Noting that today’s global maritime order is based on delicate legal and political balances achieved through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Vice-Admiral (ret’d) Dean McFadden described the Arctic as “a The Search for Canadian Maritime Security through a NATO lens The theme of the Atlantic Council of Canada’s (ACC) spring conference was “The Search forMaritime Security.” The ACC, a Toronto-based, independent organization, has a mandate to inform Canadians about security and defence issues as they relate to NATO and Canada’s involvement in the Alliance. Its target audience is secondary and post-secondary students and their teachers. The ACC also reaches out to diplomats, the business community,military personnel, government officials and academia.


December 2011 – Commander

Maritime Forces Pacific, RAdm Nigel Greenwood watches HMCS Vancouver’s approach to the fuelling jetty at Souda Bay, Greece, during NATO Operation Active Endeavour. Although its mandate was limited to detection and deterrence of activities related to terrorism, the NATO fleet enhanced security and stability in the Mediterranean Sea to the considerable benefit of trade and commerce. parable for change that is occurring in many places in this maritime century.” He said the Arctic is “being propelled towards the centre of global affairs, as the Arctic coastal states establish claims to the vast energy andmineral reserves that have been already discovered.” McFadden acknowledged that competition for access and control of strategic resources will mount – not only for the five Arctic coastal states, but also for other Arctic and non-Arctic nations, and that, historically, pressure of this magnitude would invariably lead to a significant rise in tensions. He sees the Arctic as the opportunity for peaceful resolution of maritime disputes through commitment to UNCLOS principles serving as amodel for other regionswhere ocean politics are not on so firma footing. According to McFadden, “lessons being learned in managing Arctic maritime relationships could be applied to the ocean politics of the Indo-Pacific region.”

Expanding on these “ocean politics,” Rear Admiral (ret’d) Tyron Pile provided an overviewof the security challenges that Canada confronts in its Asia-Pacific theater. Froman historic perspective, Pile suggested that Canada’s colonial ties engendered a culture of viewing Asia across the Atlantic because of the ancient trade routes between Europe and the Orient – aptly referred to as the “Far East.” With the economic rise of Asian countries and their building of maritime forces, the U.S. is being challenged in thesemaritime regions for the first time in decades. These trends place Canada’s navy in the Pacific on the frontline of global security. Listing security liabilities in the region, Pile cited: declining fish stocks; increasing exploitation of the sea bed; competition for the offshore estate; climate change;
increased seaborne traffic; increased criminal activity (drug smuggling, human trafficking, piracy, illegal fishing, pollution, terrorism, weapons proliferation); and a dramatic transformation of Asian navies
through modernization and acquisition, prompting some to call it an “arms race.” RAdm Pile also acknowledged myriad disputes along the Asian Crescent of Instability – from North Korea to South Korea, South Korea to Japan (Dok Do Islands), Japan to China (Senkaku Islands), China- Taiwan, the S. China Sea dispute, and instability in Indonesia and Myanmar, the Strait of Malacca, Philippine and Thailand insurgencies, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India- Pakistan, and India-China disputes – as cause for serious concern. Discussing the speed of change in Asia, Pile comparedGDP growth betweenmajor
economies of the west and Asia from1990 to 2011, suggesting it highlights a dramatic reversal of fortune. “While Europe continues to teeter on the brink of economic catastrophe and the U.S. struggles to recover from a lingering recession, Asian economies demonstrate remarkable resiliency.” He attributes Canada’s lack of appreciation of the rate of change that occurred over the past three decades to the absence of a national strategy. “China’s strategic patience is to be envied,” he says. “It is calculated to minimize risk and maximize success by ensuring the most favourable conditions exist before cting; whether this amounts to waiting 10 days or 10 years matters not when success or strategic leverage is the objective.” t is increasingly acknowledged that most of theworld’s commerce ismoved by
ships. Simultaneously, the exploitation of resources increases territorial sea and economic zone claims, while movement of commodities to market under a globalized network of production and delivery
becomesmore dependent on timely arrival.
Explaining how Chinese business people regard maritime security, Pile quoted an executive of a major Chinese shipping company saying “… you knowAdmiral,we take this (maritime security) very seriously –without securitywe cannot have stability, andwithout stability,we cannot have trade.”In describing the investment in maritime security among Indo-Pacific coun-Issue 4, 2012 I I 38 June 2011 – Under authority of the UN Security Resolutions, HMCS Vancouver, together with Canada’s NATO partners enforced an arms embargo and protected Libyan civilians as part of Operation Unified Protector. Vancouver found two boats adrift off the coast of Libya and deployed a boarding party to get a close look at the suspicious vessels. Vancouver’s presence demonstrated Canada’s willingness and ability to assist by creating a sustained maritime presence in the region and a range of readily deployable capabilities to the Government of Canada.


Aug 2011 – Petty Officer 2nd Class (PO2)

Michael Surette supervises Operations Room personnel during Action Stations aboard HMCS Vancouver.


tries, RAdmPile quoted some astonishing facts fromThe Economist: “Singapore,a city-state of 5M people, is nowthe 5th largest arms importer in the world, accounting for 4 per cent of the world’s total and 24 per cent of its national budget. Singapore represents a wider phenomenon with almost every country in SE Asia doing the same, increasing overall defence spending in 2011 as a region by 13.5 per cent or $24.5B, expected to rise to $40B by 2016. Arms deliveries toMalaysia vaulted 8-fold over 5 years, while Indonesia’s spending grew 84 per cent in the same period. For the first time in modern history, Asia’s military spending will surpass Europe’s. China’s defence spending has doubled every 5 years, while India has just announced a 17 per cent increase this year.Despite some animosity and mistrust between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – 10 member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Cambodia; and three 3 regional affiliates: the People’s Republic of China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea – conflict between them is unlikely. Analysts suggest that most countries are taking advantage of economic success tomodernize fleets as equipment bought before the Asian financial crisis in the late 90s reaches obsolescence.Unquestionably, China’s aggressive stance in the disputed South China Sea has provoked a surge of spending by Vietnam (6 Kilo-class from Russia) and the Philippines where the defence budget was almost doubled.” Admiral Pile believes that, like any other nation, China has a right to develop armed forces appropriate to its history, economic stature and regional influence.However, he also noted that “China has shifted from developing purely coastal defence capabilities in 2002 to regional power projection deterrence aimed at keeping America from intervening in a Taiwan crisis. Its intent is to prevent against the influence of USN carrier power projection through accurate land-based weaponry, including ballistic/cruise/anti-shipmissiles, nuclear and conventional submarines, longrange radars and surveillance satellites.” Tactically, Pile sees China’s military objective as a disabling function in which American bases in the Western Pacific are eliminated, forcing USN carrier groups outside the first island chain and creating a Chinese maritime zone from Alaska to Indonesia. He suggests this possible scenario has prompted Japan, South Korea, India and Australia to spend more on defence, notably their navies. More dramatic is America’s defence policy, underlining a switch in U.S. assets towards the Asia-Pacific region; including the stationing of U.S. Marines in Australia and increased presence in the Philippines. Does this mean that the acquiring of arms and the tender keg appearance of regional political imbroglios will create armed conflict in the region with implications for Canada? “Not necessary so,” Pile says. “Aside from North Korea (6-party talks), the opportunities for real confidencebuilding between the West (U.S.) and China can be exploited through increasing economic co-dependence and a conscious shift to resolve disputes through international courts; elevating ASEAN’s (plus 3) mandate to include security issues and encouraging greater Asian representation and influence in world bodies such as the IMF andWTO.” In discussing evolving roles of the Navy and Coast Guard (CCG), Vice-Admiral (ret’d) Peter Cairns, President of the Shipbuilding Association of Canada, began by quoting Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s statement “Surrounded as we are by three oceans, it can truly be said, that Canada and its economy float on salt water (3 May 2012).” Cairns stressed that such a realization demands a navy that can protect sea routes as well as contribute to multi-lateral UN and NATOtreaties. In addition, the country needs a rapid response capability to defend Canada’s 12 nautical mile territorial waters as well as its Contingency Zone and the 200 utical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Cairns said that Canada needs to send a clear message that we are serious about the Asia Pacific community and should consider moving its naval HQ to the Pacific Coast. He also lamented Canada’s submarine capability, noting that all Asian governments are investing in submarine fleets.

Canada’s Global Maritime Security Role In his keynote address, Rear-Admiral David Gardam, Commander, Maritime Force Atlantic, provided an account of how the RCN contributes to maritime security at home and abroad. He described the fluid complexities of protecting the nation, in which the destination and the threat factors “keep changing.” He referred to HMCS Charlottetown’s deployment to Libya as an example of how responsive RCN is in meeting its treaty obligations (see FrontLine Defence, Issue 1, 2012). Further illustrating Canada’s global naval reach, Admiral Gardam noted that the Halifax-class frigate was later relieved by HMCS Vancouver from Canada’s Pacific base, Esquimalt, BC, stressing that Canada has one navy and its vessels are deployed as global needs require.Expanding on the global focus, he outlined how Charlottetown then returned to the Mediterranean theatre in January to relieve Vancouver and was subsequently assigned to Combined Task Force 150 Issue 4, 2012 I I 39 April 2011 – HMCS Charlottetown’s boarding party prepares to board a suspicious vessel during Op Mobile in the Mediterranean Sea.


(CTF-150), a 25-nation maritime coalition established to monitor, inspect, board, and stop suspect shipping to pursue the “War on Terrorism” in the Horn of Africa, the North Arabian Sea and the Indian cean. Through CTF-150, Canadian warships have been engaged in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. Admiral Gardam stressed the importance of Canada being engaged in world

affairs. He believes Canada is poised to

benefit from the forthcoming “maritime

century” but expressed concern that “80%

of Canadians see trade as a north-south

relationship. The fact is, 42% of our trade

also travels by sea.” There is a need for

Canadians to overcome what he describes

as “Maritime Blindness.” Much more than

most people realize, Canada relies on the

sea for prosperity. “What concerns me is

that Canadians do not fully understand the

importance of the oceans and that events

under, on, and above the surface of the sea

globally can influence our prosperity.”

The Constabulary Role

of the Navy

In NATO terms,Maritime Security Operations

(MSOs) are seen as the blue water

context ofMilitaryOperationsOther Than

War (MOOTW). MSO refers to combat

sea-based terrorism and other illegal activities,

such as drug and human trafficking,

hijacking, and piracy. These activities are

generally regarded as law enforcement

(policing) duties, although ships assigned to

these operations may also assist seafaring

vessels in distress.

An example of the RCN supporting

lawenforcement agencieswas provided by

Cdr James Clarke, Commanding Officer

of HMCS St John’s, who gave a dramatic

presentation of Canada’s work with Joint

Interagency Task Force South (JIATF-S) in

Caribbean Counter-Trafficking. St. John’s

provided surveillance support to help law

enforcement authorities locate and interdict

possible drug traffickers. Through JIATF-S,

working alongside partner nations (France,

Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, and the

U.S.) St. John’s embarked a United States

Coast Guard (USCG) team of experts in

maritime law enforcement and counternarcotic

operations. “Wemademeaningful

contributions to this operation, while

working with several different nations and

their government agencies to keep illicit

drugs off North American streets,” said

Clarke. During the St. John’s deployment,

the U.S. Coast Guard made 38 arrests, and

seized a total of 10,902 kg of cocaine and

1144 kg of marijuana, equating to more

than US$223million. Clark explained how

St. John’s helped recover a drug cargo from

a scuttled self-propelled semi-submersible

(SPSS) vessel in the Caribbean Basin; its

blue colour made identification from the

air difficult.

Continuing on the constabulary role,

Lieutenant-Commander Susan Long-

Poucher, gave a dramatic account of her

experiences, having recently returned from

NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) in Northwood,

UK. She played an audio recording

of a cargo ship off the Horn of Africa as it

was being boarded by Somali pirates. The

drama of hearing the ship’s captain

pleading for guidance, andNATOmaritime

advising evasive action until help arrived,

with the eventual silence from the ship

under siege,was not lost on those in attendance.

She highlighted how Canadian

Naval Reservists provide support for NSC,

which issues guidance and advice to

mariners transiting pirate-infested waters.

The provision of timely information, coupledwith

a ship’s self protectionmeasures,

is beginning to reduce the number of

successful piracy attacks. Following her

presentation, the audience discussed various

political and legal challenges of prosecuting

pirates and the need for further

engagement by law enforcement agencies

such as INTERPOL.

A review of how military and law

enforcement agencies can work together

to provide security for international

events was provided by Commodore

Gilles Couturier. He described how the

Canadian Forces, the RoyalCanadianNavy,

in particular, integrated with RCMP’s

Integrated Security Unit (ISU) for the Vancouver

2010 Olympics. Cmdre Couturier

described how the RCN, RCMP, other

municipal police forces and the USCG

were able to identify possible threat scenarios

and collaborate to prevent these

events from happening or be ready to

answer the call if necessary. This interagency

approach was key to the success of

the operation.

Guardians of

the Great Lakes

The motto of the U.S. Ninth Coast Guard

District is “Guardians of the Great Lakes.”

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the

Ninth District is responsible for all Coast

Guard operations throughout the five

Great Lakes, the Saint Lawrence Seaway,

and parts of the surrounding States,