Good afternoon, everyone.
Mr. Chair, deputy chairs, hon. members and members of the committee, thank you. I'm delighted to be here with you.
It is my pleasure to be here today to testify. I am really delighted by the topic.
Before I go any further, I just want to state that, although my presentation will be in English, obviously we can do the Q and A interaction in French afterwards.
Today, I want to focus my remarks more specifically on gender considerations for NATO. Several events and initiatives have highlighted the importance of taking gender dynamics into account for the practice of security and defence. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and follow-on resolutions were important to outline the need for greater participation by women in conflict resolution and peace processes, as well as the need to prevent sexual and gender-based violence. These resolutions also called for gender mainstreaming, which is the integration of gender-based analysis and perspectives into policy-making, operational planning, and missions.
Following the UN, NATO adopted its own directives and guidelines to implement the women, peace and security agenda, and I would argue that Canada has an important role to play in the entrenchment of those norms as part of NATO practices.
Over the last year and a half, I have been the lead project director for a NATO science for peace and security grant project that focuses on how best to integrate gender guidelines into NATO practices. The project is called “Tailor-Made Gender Awareness Applications for the NATO Community”. This project includes applied research and the development of a course that examines the many ways gender considerations impact NATO's day-to-day activities. Topics covered include the integration of women in the armed forces; the incorporation of gender perspectives in policies, operational planning, and missions; and how to perform gender-based analysis across a variety of positions.
In order to accomplish this work, it was very important to go to the NATO community first and really understand how these guidelines and directives had been rolled out since the adoption of the first directives and how the end-users, if you will, were perceiving some of the changes that occurred with the incorporation of these various gender directives and guidelines. Our team analyzed over 100 publicly available NATO documents on gender, and we also visited NATO headquarters to do over 50 interviews with various officials, both on the military and the civilian sides. In addition, we ran two pilot courses in order to test the material in front of a NATO audience and seek feedback.
One of the key documents that underpinned our work was bi-strategic command directive 40-1, which focuses specifically on implementing Resolution 1325 and incorporating gender perspectives in the NATO command structure. This document was last updated very recently, in October. The directive applies to allied command operations, allied command transformation, and of course the armed forces that are assigned to NATO operations and missions. Implementation relies on the integration of gender perspectives across NATO's core tasks: collective defence, crisis management, and security co-operation.
If you read the bi-strategic directive, you will notice that the document outlines a rationale for these directives and certain operational benefits to the incorporation of gender perspectives. It sets out certain expectations with regard to NATO performance on this file, and clearly defines and states the roles and responsibilities of positions such as gender advisers and gender focal points.
While the directives are clear, the mechanism to implement this within NATO and across NATO states could be strengthened. Canada is well poised to play a key role in this respect. Canada has a strong tradition when it comes to developing gender-based analysis tools and has made gender equality a central part of its current international priorities. It's also recognized as a leader within the NATO context, given that Canada was among the first group of countries to remove all professional barriers to the participation of women in the armed forces.
My recommendation is for Canada to become a global leader in gender training, bolstering its own gender adviser capacity in the process. Since gender analysis is a field that evolves very quickly, I would also recommend that this training approach be equipped with a proper network of experts, whether in academia or civil society organizations, to provide periodic updates, feedback, the latest data and research. I think that would be desirable. Convening international forums to share best practices with some of our allies and other international security organizations beyond NATO I think would also help support this effort and certainly help with the momentum.
In the short term, there are a lot of opportunities for improvement. The consideration of gender in the realm of security and defence is often very segmented. We saw this in our study leading up to the course. Very expectedly we saw some differences between how the civilian side of NATO would implement gender reforms versus the military side, but perhaps surprisingly we felt the military was somehow ahead of the game on this one because they were quite prolific when it came to producing directives that demonstrated how to implement these gender guidelines, whereas on the political side of the House much of the activities that we surveyed were focused on awareness raising.
On the political side of NATO, Canada can contribute to support the development of a comprehensive strategy to incorporate gender into NATO policies and to make sure that the assistant secretary generals are asked to report on implementation. This would ensure gender considerations are truly integrated across all of NATO's activities and across the eight portfolios held by the assistant secretary generals: political affairs and security policy; emerging security challenges; defence investment; defence policy and planning; executive management; public diplomacy; operations; as well as intelligence and security. In case you're wondering, yes, all those positions are held by men.
This more systematic approach ensures gender analysis is carried out by the organization as a whole, not just by the gender advisers or the women, peace and security office. Too often, improvements in gender practices within an organization will rely on the initiatives of individuals or the expertise of certain people, but that is just not a sustainable way to make change happen, especially not in an organization that has high turnaround and very short contracts.
We must also recognize why progress on the gender file has been slow. There are 29 different political cultures within NATO, which is difficult to reconcile, and this complex and multinational environment creates an implementation challenge that would not be present in the implementation of a strictly national action plan, for instance.
Moreover, gender guidelines are often jargon laden and are seen to impose excessive reporting metrics that do little to relate the gender perspective to the daily work of security and defence professionals on both the civilian and military sides of the NATO house. Another example is linked to the often-cited view that once bullets start flying, gender is irrelevant. Although now you're starting to see more and more work in academia and in policy circles on how adversarial tactics incorporate gender perspectives as well, I think this area is still misunderstood and that has led to some very important blind spots. We can think of the role women play in insurgencies and in terrorist organizations, but we can also look to the mission in Latvia and how the gender dimension has been exploited in Russian information campaigns. Canada's long-standing experience with gender-based analysis is an asset here, one that should be better leveraged in the security and defence realm to support national and NATO priorities.
Canada is a credible actor in this field. However, in the last two decades, Canada was outpaced by Nordic countries. They have continuously updated gender training as opposed to considering gender equality a fait accompli, which is something that happened in the Canadian Armed Forces in the 1990s and 2000s.
The Deschamps report served as an important wake-up call for introducing new initiatives and reforms to bring the Canadian Armed Forces' diversity standards and gender literacy to a higher level. Important steps have been taken, like the diversity strategy, the appointments of gender advisers, and the inclusion of gender as an important consideration in the new defence policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged”. This is a firm basis on which to establish Canada as a leader and norm setter when it comes to gender in security and defence, to show how it can improve policy-making and operational planning tailored to the needs of NATO objectives and missions.
As the framework nation of NATO's enhanced forward presence battle group through Operation Reassurance, Canada is well positioned to advocate for gender best practices not only at the NATO HQ and SHAPE, but also through its contribution in various missions.
To tie this to the broader discussion on Canada's involvement within NATO, I think that very often more qualitative contributions to the alliance are obscured by the big focus on burden-sharing debates and the 2% rule. Canada has already done a lot on the women, peace and security file at NATO, but I think it can do much more in the future.
Thank you, Chair. Good evening from the Netherlands.
In this, your Veterans' Week, let me first congratulate Canada for its historic contribution to the freedom of Europe and for its continuing defence.
The other day at Camp Adazi in Latvia, close to the Russian border, I saw first-hand the vital Canadian contribution to NATO's enhanced forward presence and force operations in the defence of Latvia. Still, and with very genuine respect, let me talk, Yorkshireman to Canadians, about how I see your reality. I am no expert on Canadian defence policy, but these are my impressions.
First, I really wondered at Adazi if Canadian forces really understood and would be able, in the worst case, to cope with Russian forces on the other side of the border in the western military oblast.
Second, military power is relative. Reading “Strong, Secure, and Engaged”, I certainly got the engaged bit, but strong and secure?
Third, Canadian defence policy to an outsider seems more devoted, at times, to upholding the values of Canadian society, values indeed that I share, rather than to defending it in what is going to be a new age.
Fourth, at times “Strong, Secure, Engaged” reads like a plan for a previous age, a 1990s-plus strategy, with a focus on stability rather than defence, let alone high-end collective deterrence and defence and trying to do all these things with a force of some 67,000 personnel.
Fifth, I note the ambition to “field advanced capabilities to keep pace with allies and maintain an advantage over potential adversaries”, yet I really wonder, given the cost balance of your forces and your high personnel costs, costs which, reading the paper, I would suggest would increase, if with around 1% GDP on defence you can indeed meet the full spectrum of operations. Two per cent well spent, after all, is far better than 1% however well spent especially when 20% of that is on new equipment.
Sixth, I see no evidence of Canada really preparing for a future war NATO along the lines that General Allen and General Breedlove, Admiral Zambellas, and I discuss in our new paper, “Future War NATO? From Hybrid War to Hyper War via Cyber War”.
Seventh, if you are to meet your three current, and indeed future, defence goals—the defence of Canada, the defence of North America, and contributing to wider security, which I take to mean NATO collective defence as well—you will need to be equipped with the technologies of the new military age. These would include autonomous systems, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, et al. These things do not come cheap. Indeed, if you are to operate closely with U.S. forces in future towards the high end of the spectrum, which is why Canadian forces are indeed in Latvia, that's the bare minimum your forces will need.
Eighth, Canadian forces may well need to be effective, expeditionary high-end first responders if and when the overstretched Americans are forced to engage the world on multiple fronts at the same time.
I saw in Afghanistan the outstanding quality of Canadian personnel, but I wonder if Canada is preparing for the wrong future. Indeed, when I read your defence policy, and again, I say this with respect, but I'm being a blunt Yorkshireman, my sense is that you need your own strategic analysis to better make the kind of strategic judgments upon which, in a complex environment, Canada will have to engage. I fear that at some point, Canadian troops, under NATO command, could find themselves faced with the best that 20th century Canada could equip them with facing the worst the 21st century could throw at them. Again, I saw the quality of Canadian personnel. When we get defence policy wrong—and I've been very blunt in the House of Commons in London about the consequences for British troops—it is our young men and women on the front line who have to close the gap between the real world and poor policy.
My take-away is this: 50 years ago next month the Harmel report entrenched the twin tracks of sound defence and engaged dialogue at the heart of NATO strategy. They remain there, and rightly so. My sense is that too many allies, too many of us, are happy to pursue dialogue but seem to have forgotten sound defence and, indeed, how much that sound defence costs.
Thank you, Chair.
I think one of the main cultural challenges is that not all 29 member states have the same definition of what gender means, or how it might be relevant to their work.
I think that a second challenge is related to the fact that some officials view gender as the specialized purview of —quote, unquote—“gender experts” within the NATO structure. That would be in the international military staff, the gender adviser, who certainly is there to provide support for the international military staff in terms of the integration of those guidelines and directives. On the international staff side—still within the secretariat—you would have the women, peace and security office, which is led by the special representative to the secretary general on women, peace and security.
You have these individuals whose primary job, if you will, is to look at how we can better implement those guidelines. Without diffusion of that gender literacy, the true mainstream effects will not be felt.
I think that another challenge that relates to the professional culture is maybe at the political level. In NATO you have the North Atlantic Council, and you have the military committee, and the military committee supports the decisions made by the NAC. Then you have the secretariat that implements those decisions, so IS and IMS.
What I want to emphasize with that is that at the political level there also needs to be a lot of momentum. When you look at which countries are vocal on this issue, you will see very uneven efforts. I think Canada in this case politically can serve a very important role in bringing up these issues in the North Atlantic Council, and certainly our current ambassador Kerry Buck has done that.
In what sense do you mean?
Just to be clear, I was ambassador in Turkey as well for two years, and was responsible for part of Central Asia as well. Turkey has been a member of the alliance for quite a long time. It is actually an important one. Certainly it was at the time of the Soviet Union, because it was the NATO front line, I guess, with the Soviet Union. It's still a very important ally from a strategic point of view, given what's going on in the Middle East, and given the issues we have fighting Daesh, and it's not over yet, because I think you're going to see some other problems creeping up. Kurds come to mind, for instance.
So Turkey is a critical member of the alliance. It also has—and we saw it in Afghanistan—inroads from an intelligence perspective into some networks that we don't know very well.
The third point I would make is that Turkey is really the only member of NATO that is a Muslim country, and I think that NATO needs at this point to be able to show that it's open to a Muslim country or to Muslim populations in the world. Turkey plays that role.
In terms of what it's bringing to the alliance, I think NATO would lose if Turkey was not a member of the alliance.
What I'm going to say is going to sound like we're going to compete with the Nordic countries a bit in this case, and that's true. Right now, for training our own gender advisers, we send them on a course in Sweden. Sweden is a partner with NATO, not an ally, but it has a bit of a monopoly over gender training at the highest levels.
More recently, we've seen some new initiatives in Canada, like the appointment of gender advisers, which is an initiative that was rolled out last year by the CDS. Since then, we've been looking to some of our traditional allies, like the U.K., the United States, and Australia, for best practices. In Australia, they've set up a pilot course on gender for their own forces, which they will open up to allies and partners. Canada could very well do the same kind of thing: develop a Canadian-branded gender training course that would focus on the full spectrum of operations.
When I look at training materials right now, my sense is that they focus a lot on peace-building and nation building, but training approaches should be considering the full spectrum of operations, because that's what our Canadian Armed Forces face in terms of global engagement. For the gender training to be fully comprehensive, you have to look at how gender might impact, yes, a peace mission, but also, for example, targeting decisions.
When we talk about mainstreaming, I think we've done it well in certain areas, but we need to broaden the skill sets to make sure that training covers any contingency. Canada has a lot to contribute in that.
As far as Canada is concerned, I will let the people developing our policies and our points of view on this to answer your question. It's not my issue.
In terms of the Kurdish question and Turkey, I will offer a general comment. With respect to the internal circumstances of the Atlantic Alliance member countries, unless they have an immediate strategic impact on the alliance, such as threats to the alliance, these are subjects that are part of the bilateral component of the nations. So the national interest of the nations is at stake at this time.
As far as I know, Turkey didn't want to bring these issues to the NATO table, and I very much doubt that NATO is doing it itself.
This question can be difficult and worrying. It certainly is for me, in any case. However, NATO officials would tell you that, for now, this isn't an issue of concern to NATO. It's an issue being managed by Turkey. And, without wanting to put myself in the place of the Turkish ambassador, I would say that the Turks would no doubt tell you that it's a question that doesn't concern NATO right now.
Thank you for your question.
With regard to deterrence, there has been a fairly interesting evolution since the end of the Cold War. After it ended, we saw NATO try to focus on other pillars, such as crisis management and security cooperation. The deterrence and collective defence component never went away, but it was emphasized less. It is also seen in the way the nuclear dimension is expressed in key strategic documents as the strategic concept. It is noted that the role of nuclear weapons, as described in these documents, is more political than military.
It is really the current debate that led to the development of the defence and deterrence document as part of the NATO position, which Mr. Garrison mentioned earlier. It was truly a pivotal moment to determine whether NATO deterrence would give more or less space to the nuclear dimension. In the end, we realized that it was more the status quo. As well, the annexation of Crimea in 2014 really reinforced or endorsed this change.
Let's come back to 2017. I personally believe that there haven't been huge changes in NATO's deterrent position, because there are still three key capabilities: the nuclear dimension, which remains; the conventional dimension, which has been reinforced by NATO's enhanced forward presence; and the anti-missile shield dimension. So, it's a fairly stable position, but the conventional dimension has grown considerably since 2014.
Thank you for the question, because this is a message that I want to highlight.
We don't necessarily have to emulate what the Nordic countries have done. I think it's okay to have a Canadian approach to how to do this gender mainstreaming strategy. I think the gender-based analysis tool that has been in place for several years is a well-designed tool. Where we need, I suppose, to speed up our efforts is in how we adopt those tools to security and defence challenges.
The baseline tool is great as a primer and as a baseline, but it's an additional challenge to see how the guidelines within that tool kit can then be applied to complex security and defence challenges, whether those are policy challenges, or operational planning, or mission-specific challenges. I think it's that leap that we still need to do.
I'm not saying that Nordic countries are doing it.... They have a training infrastructure to provide training at the leadership level and for gender advisers. However, when I look at training approaches writ large, even the UN training approaches, what's missing is that tailoring. It's teaching people to know how to assess their operational environment as a social ecosystem, to understand what their presence will be like locally, and understanding the differentiated impacts on women, men, boys, and girls locally. Then it's how gender is incorporated as sometimes even a tactic in adversarial strategies.
It's that piece where a lot more work needs to be done. I'm not seeing anyone leading the way on that, which is why I think Canada should seize on this opportunity. What I'm seeing is a lot of baseline training. It is very focused on peace-building and nation building, as I mentioned before. However, when it comes to being able to tailor to a broader range of operational context, I think this is where the exciting developments lie ahead.
Yes, sir, and thank you for the question. It's a very important question.
The way I see it, there are three different circles of nations at NATO, and this is without regard for the amount of money they spend or the amount of money they contribute to the overall budget. The United States is in a category of its own. Then you have countries such as France, Germany, and the U.K., due to the size of their armed forces and the effort they invest in trying to equip, adapt, exercise, and modernize their own forces. Then you have another group of nations, of which Canada is a member, that is actually influential. Therefore, a decision cannot be made without Canada being in the picture. There's a lot of business that's being done in corridors before decisions are made, and Canada is always part of that.
What I was worried about and what I witnessed was the cohesiveness, or the growing cohesive approach, of European nations, as a European bloc, at NATO during council discussions, which actually leaves us squeezed somewhere between a huge United States and an EU group that is not yet powerful but actually meaningful. We're staying there with Turkey, for instance, not being a member of the European Union and having no vocation of being one, and not being the United States. I guess what that taught me was that we need to know exactly what we want and what we expect—
My main point is that your assumptions are still based on the idea that the United States will always be there as an effective first responder when a crisis happens in the Euro-Atlantic area. My analysis, and that of my senior colleagues, is that there could well be scenarios coming up where the United States is simply overstretched and engaged in the Asia-Pacific or perhaps in the Middle East.
For example, in the North Atlantic and in the Arctic Circle, I can well foresee scenarios in which NATO allies would have to face a serious Russian incursion, possibly without U.S. forces available. I look at your maritime amphibious building program, which is okay, but then I look at the kinds of technologies—ship-based, land-based, submersible, and unmanned—and I wonder if Canada is really building in the kind of offensive and defensive firepower that will be needed to engage in that kind of NATO task group. My fear is that none of us.... My fear is that we could be caught very flat-footed by an event, which could happen far more quickly than many of us would like to believe.
My sense is that there's almost a resistance in Canada—with genuine respect, I know Canada's history—to consider the worst-case war-fighting scenario. My sense of you is that you're living in a virtual 10-year rule, like the old 10-year rule the Brits had, where they assumed they didn't have to plan for a major war for at least 10 years. That's over. A major war could break out far more quickly than many of us would like to believe. With due respect, I don't get any sense from Canada that your planners, or indeed you as a political class, are thinking about those kinds of dangers that you would have to consider, as a NATO member.
As well, Stéfanie, you mentioned two different articles listed here—“NATO, deterrence and what it means for Canada” and “NATO and the return of deterrence”—but I think you mentioned one more.
If it's okay, could we get all of those reports for consideration? Thank you.
First, Ms. Hlatky, thank you for coming. I do need to ask you this: why Canada, and why now? Is it because Canada is a leader and has demonstrated itself to be ahead of the curve in all things women and peace and security, particularly in defence operations, or is it because we're in a position where we may have a political will and some insight, and therefore have the opportunity to leapfrog ahead because we've arrived at a point where it's right? Or is it some other potential option?
Why Canada, and why now, in this conversation?
I'm currently about to publish a major report with General John Allen and Ambassador Sandy Vershbow on these issues of NATO adaptation. It will come out later in November.
One of the issues we suggest is that it's reasonable for the United States to expect that the allies provide up to 60% of all NATO-related activities. It's not about comparing the U.S. global defence spend with our defence spend; it's about that aspect of U.S. defence expenditure devoted to NATO and the defence of Europe.
Looking at the American economy, looking at the growth of China, and looking at other challenges, even if the Americans wanted to, they could not sustain their current imbalance inside the alliance. For our own defence and for the sake of the alliance, but also to keep the Americans strong where they need to be strong, which is in our interests, I strongly believe in the 2% objective.
It's an arbitrary benchmark, but it would send a wonderful signal to Washington, whether President Trump or indeed another president is in power, because when I'm in Washington, which is a lot, Democrats and Republicans on the Hill tell me that this is an issue. I think we would be making a mistake as allies to try to identify this issue as simply a Trump issue. It's a much deeper issue in the American body politic.
Thank you for the question. It's very important.
I was quite disturbed and concerned with the reversal of the policy in the United States when it came to LGBTQ service members. I'm happy that right now the issue is being reconsidered in the face of the lack of evidence to support the policy, and let me clear on that in regard to any additional costs associated with the participation of trans members.
When it comes to Canada, the new diversity strategy that was unveiled I think addresses this question quite well. I really like the change of tone in the diversity strategy that the Canadian Armed Forces rolled out. It's moved.... I think a person who put it best was one of the key focal points for the effort: Lieutenant-Colonel Sarah Heer. She said that before now the tone was “we don't care what your gender identity is as long as you're part of the forces”, and now it's “we care and we want to hear about it”. I think that change in tone is incredibly important not only in changing the culture, but in creating that inclusive environment.
At NATO, when you look at their diversity report, you don't see any targets identified or have that sense of identity tracked. You see gender-disaggregated data, and here the numbers are quite concerning. There's a big gender gap at NATO, especially when you look at the positions at the highest levels.
I do have them here, if you're interested. In civilians NATO-wide, you have 26% female and 74% male. At the highest grade, U grade, you have 0%, and then 16% at the A grade. That's at the highest levels. In NATO-wide military staff, it's 7% female and 93% male.
Although NATO makes a statement in its diversity strategy when it comes to LGBTQ members, the data it has is strictly the gender breakdown by age and by level of seniority.
I guess my answer shouldn't exceed the four minutes you have, so I'll try to be quick.
First, Canada is a key player in the Atlantic Alliance. It has always been a key player and continues to be, so much so that the alliance would like more from Canada. We've been involved in all NATO operations since the beginning, since its inception. The professionalism of our military is recognized everywhere within NATO and beyond. In terms of reputation, Canada has absolutely no reason to be jealous of the allies around the table. This serves us enormously.
I would like to come back to the issue of Europe and the influence of Canada. Introducing an economic element, such as the CETA that we have just concluded with Europe, is important. It's in Canada's interest to be able to contribute directly to European security, since that security is directly related to our economic interests under CETA. This is a big gain.
I would also say that the contribution we are currently making to Latvia is perceived, at the diplomatic level, as being a strengthening of Canada's presence. All of this plays a lot in our favour and gives us a platform, if I may say so. In other words, we have a lot of credibility, and we can use it to take action on other issues that may be of interest or concern to us, economic or otherwise.
In my opinion, the Canadian presence and Canadian influence in NATO is an investment that goes far beyond the realm of European security.
Have I kept to the time allotted? I still don't see the little flag.
What I said before is that Canada's influence within NATO will require more and more effort from us, because we are located between the European Union, whose security positions are becoming more cohesive and consistent, and the United States, which is what it is in terms of security.
It ties in with what Mr. Lindley-French said, that we need an extremely strong strategic analysis that is unique to Canada. As ambassador, when I was there, I knew exactly what Canada didn't want, but what Canada wanted was a lot less clear. There is a lot of work to be done, and it must be done in cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, the Department of National Defence, and members of a think tank that Mr. Lindley-French was talking about to develop a clear idea of our strategic objectives and how these objectives fit into a group like NATO, for instance, but more broadly too.
I think this work remains to be done. It's something we have been short on. I would say that it was greatly lacking.
There we are. I'm being told that time is up.