New CAF Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security

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On June 25, 2019, at the Canadian Forces College (CFC) in Toronto, the Department of National Defence (DND) announced the establishment of the Dallaire Centre of Excellence for Peace and Security, with the core mandate to develop concepts, support relevant research, sponsor doctrinal changes, and capture lessons learned and best practices in support of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) training, and education, and related personnel readiness enablers in relevant peace and security topic areas.

The centre of excellence (COE)’s initial focus area will be on how the CAF can implement the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping, and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers.

Following the launch of the Vancouver Principles in November 2017, individuals from Global Affairs Canada (GAC), DND and Canada’s delegation to the United Nations (UN) working with representatives from endorsing states and civil society organizations, developed an implementation guidance.

Published concurrently with the June announcement, this guidance is intended to assist endorsing organizations in translating the Vancouver Principles into national-level guidance, plans and capabilities.

The objective is to ensure that police and military members contributing to UN missions are provided the direction, resources and preparation to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers; to be able to respond effectively when encountering child soldiers in the context of UN peacekeeping operations; and to enable effective personal support post-deployment.

“I have dedicated my life to ensuring soldiers are prepared, and children are protected in situations of armed conflict, because both are central to achieving peace,” said LGen (ret’d) Roméo Dallaire. “The establishment of this centre of excellence will have an impact on soldiers, on children, and on global peace and security.”

“The COE serves as a strategic Defence enabler to advance Government of Canada objectives for implementation of the Vancouver Principles, and related issues through the enhancement of and contribution to Defence capabilities,” said Melinda Mansour, Interim Director of the COE.

Through the use of flexible employment vehicles, including post-doctorate fellowships, short-term secondments, and interchange opportunities, the COE is designed to be innovative, creative and adaptive with the capacity to quickly pivot to emerging issues, policy developments or key updates to international frameworks, such as those expressed through UN Security Council Resolutions concerning children, and armed conflict or the Women, Peace and Security agenda.

“The COE will draw on a diversity of expertise and perspectives from across academia and civil society to inform its work,” said RAdm Luc Cassivi, Commander Canadian Defence Academy (CDA). “Its flexible nature will also position the CDA to consider other emerging peace and security topics, such as sexual exploitation and abuse, conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, and human shields.”

The COE is being established within the CDA to achieve initial operating capability in 2020, and full operating capability in 2021, with an establishment of 13 civilians and 4 CAF members organized in three functional areas, and located in three cities.

The COE will be led by an Executive Director and key engagements staff based in Ottawa, and will employ a distributed team based out of geographical areas that best align with each business function (Engagements, Concepts and Research) with some concepts staff at CDA HQ, Kingston and research staff at the Canadian Forces College.

The Deputy Director Engagements will monitor CAF/DND strategic objectives; conduct outreach and engagements; contribute to interdepartmental liaison; establish grant programs; design and deliver symposia, short courses and seminars on COE-related topics, as well as serving as Chief of Staff.

The Deputy Director Concepts will support CAF Office of Primary Responsibilities for Joint and Service concepts, doctrine, training and lessons learned by identifying lessons learned and best practices, developing concepts, and conducting doctrinal gap analyses against CAF operational requirements, to contribute to updates or development of doctrine.

The Deputy Director Research will conduct research, and analysis of current, emerging and potential security policy areas; academic and professional literatures; perspectives of the national security practitioner community; and, civil society discourse to identify implications for CAF operational requirements, and professional development.

DND will draw on the expertise of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldier Initiative through a five year contribution agreement to enable research and identify lessons learned and best practices regarding the prevention of the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

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