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25 YEARS OF DEFENCE REPORTING

25 YEARS OF DEFENCE REPORTING

When one is not paying attention, the years seem to fly by and this issue of CDR is all about that.

This marks our 25th year publishing this magazine for Canada’s defence community and over the course of that time, we’ve covered wars in Africa, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, and other places. We’ve reported on major defence equipment acquisitions such as C-130J, CC-177, LAV 6.0 and the CH-146 Griffon helicopter which graced the cover of our very first issue. Now, a full 25 years after the publication of that first issue, the government is looking at doing a major modernization of that same aircraft or even replacing it. So, we’ve come a long way.

And, in that 25-year period, we’ve pub­lished interviews with many senior govern­ment and military officials such as Ministers of Defence, Chiefs of the Defence Staff et al. Over that time there were weak, inef­fectual Ministers of National defence, like Art Eggleton (the former mayor of Toronto) and John McCallum (the now former Ambassador to China), as well as strong Ministers, like Peter MacKay and Jason Kenney who were advocates for the military and took steps to ensure it was properly equipped.

But, as government officials and military commanders have changed over those 25 years, there was always one constant and, as we say in French, “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose” – the more things change, the more they stay the same. Then and now, the military has lacked sufficient funding and as a result, Canada seriously lags its peers, such as Australia, in defence procurement. For example, Australia has already selected its next fighter aircraft, a major unmanned platform and it has a massive submarine program underway, even as Canada is still mulling over whether it even wants to replace its current submarine fleet at all.

It’s well known that Canada has fallen behind all other NATO countries on defence spending as a percentage of GDP, but with some very important programs now taking shape (eg fighter aircraft and new combat ships) perhaps Canada can catch up. Of course, CDR will be watching intently as those programs unfold and, as I mention in my piece on CDR’s 25th anniversary in this issue, our strength has always been our people, the writ­ers and editors that travel the world to report on defence issues from a uniquely Canadian perspective, but it’s also been about the behind-the-scenes folks that work to design, develop and distribute the magazine as well.

And, let’s not forget that we couldn’t do what we do without the support of our partners, the advertisers that help us put the best possible product on your desk or in your inbox. So, it goes without saying, we look forward to serving the information needs of our loyal readers as we now embark on our next 25 years of defence reporting!

DEFENCE EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

As always, this time of year, we recognize and profile Canada’s top defence executive. This year we break more new ground as we name joint winners, Alex Vicefield and James Davies, who are principals in Inocea, the company behind Chantier Davie, a Quebec shipyard that has been instrumental in deliver­ing a critically important supply ship capability to Canada’s Navy in the form of MV Asterix. It has also been involved in building icebreakers for the CCG and it will soon refit the Halifax-class ships for the Royal Canadian Navy.

For our profile on Vicefield and Davies, we sent veteran CDR reporter and European Bureau Chief, Tim Mahon, to sit down with the two in Monaco where Inocea is headquartered. As you will read in Tim’s very incisive report, Alex and James are a duo that exude a dynamism that permeates all that they do and, as Tim observed, they could be two sides of the same coin.

So, for an in-depth look at our Defence Executive(s) of the Year for 2019, we urge you to read Tim’s revealing story in this issue.

MDA CELEBRATES 50TH ANNIVERSARY

CDR is not the only organization celebrating an important milestone and, in this issue, we offer an informative interview with Mike Greenley, Group President of MDA, which is marking 50 years of leadership in space technology.

For CDR’s new Embedded series, Ottawa Bureau Chief, James Careless, talked to the veteran executive about his company’s achievements over the years that have included, Canadarm and Radarsat 2. So, to get a much better understanding of this iconic Canadian space technology company, we suggest you take a look at that discussion in this issue of CDR.

By the way, to round out our look back at milestones, CDR Senior Staff Writer and Aviation Editor, Joetey Attariwala, was there to observe the CH-124 Sea King’s last opera­tional flight back in December after some 55 years of service and his report, in words and pictures, captures that event in this issue.

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