Blueprint 2020: Taking Stock of Defence Modernization


In 2013, the Government of Canada launched the Blueprint 2020 (BP 2020) initiative as a way to ensure the Public Service of Canada is able to meet the challenges of the future, and adapt to the rapid rate of change taking place in the world and society. The Blueprint 2020 vision foresees a capable and high-performing Public Service that embraces innovation, transformation, and continuous renewal.

Over the years, the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have made great strides in contributing to this vision, and as the Defence Team begins to look Beyond 2020, it’s important to take stock in some of the accomplishments across Defence that have contributed to the Blueprint 2020 mission. 

2013 – 2016

Results of Blueprint 2020’s first four years were due to the commitment of each organization across the Defence Team. Staff were consulted and engaged in a variety of ways, enabling Defence to modernize the support to our personnel with better processes, more modern tools, and innovative approaches.

Examples of changes that took place across Defence aimed at renewing and transforming how Defence operates, include:

  • Lean Headquarters developed a more agile and effective organizational structure within National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ);
  • Data Centre Consolidation brought together 48 Data Centers into 7 locations;
  • Electronic Approvals initiative brought forward a strategy to digitize DND’s approval processes, limiting the amount of used paper, and making the finalization of documents more efficient;
  • Employee engagement tools led to town halls, annual retreats, online blogs and bulletin boards, informal chats, coffee, lunch and “walkabouts” between senior leaders and staff;
  • Workplace 2.0 initiated an innovative and future-oriented conversation changing the way we work;
  • Defence Intranet Renewal launched an employee-centric platform where information is organized and easily found;
  • 60 Seconds With… videos were launched to open communication, dialogue, and transparency with senior leadership;
  • Respectful Workplace initiatives included live panel discussions streamed on social media as part of Mental Health Week and Bell Let’s Talk Day;
  • Recruiting and retention strategies were implemented such as student hiring and bridging objectives for each group and command, the renewal of the DND Mentoring Program, and employee recognition programs such as the Celebrating Excellence Awards.    

2017 – 2018

In 2017, DND stood up a small Blueprint 2020 Secretariat to further enhance workforce engagement in innovation and provide a central tracking and reporting team for Blueprint 2020.

Some initiatives undertaken during this time include:

  • Increased involvement in the annual Government of Canada Innovation Fairs, including participation in three locations where DND/CAF teams could showcase their innovations;
  • Process Busting: including e-signatures, Defence Team Writing Guide, Civilian Performance Management, Project directives for ADM(MAT);
  • The 2017 Blueprint 2020 Symposium held in in Ottawa involved more than 200 Defence Team members, military and civilian, engaged personnel on issues of leadership, diversity, human resources, career management, and use of technology. A number of comprehensive projects received endorsement from the Deputy Minister and are in various stages of discovery including pursuit of WiFi, Career Management Centre, formal leadership training, peer support as part of civilian Disability Management, and an Activity-Based Workplace;
  • More than 1500 Defence Team members participated in the 2018 Career & Networking Fair held in numerous locations across the country as well as virtually. It provided an opportunity internally for organizations to promote themselves and recruit internally from the civilian and military workforce and externally with students. It provided a chance for everyone to discover the diverse opportunities available with the DND and the CAF;
  • In 2018, the Defence Team Innovation Challenge reviewed and assessed 172 innovative ideas for improving the workplace, with the top 10 competing in the Battle of the Innovators with a number of initiatives moving on to project stage including autonomous renewable energy, knowledge-sharing tools, and common access and ID cards.

2019… Beyond 2020

The Blueprint 2020 Secretariat has been integrated as a full line of business within the newly formed Assistant Deputy Minister (Data, Innovation, and Analytics). Within this group, the Innovation and Change Management Team will serve as a hub for innovation within Defence, bringing together innovative projects in a single collaborative eco-system, and follow-through on innovations that were brought forward.

As we build on these accomplishments, Defence continues to look Beyond 2020 for success and movement towards a more agile, inclusive, and equipped federal department.