Defence Plan Calls for Cyber and Drone Attacks to Meet 21st Century Threats

By Blanchfield, Mike | The Canadian Press, June 7, 2017 | Go to article overview

Defence Plan Calls for Cyber and Drone Attacks to Meet 21st Century Threats


Blanchfield, Mike, The Canadian Press


Defence plan calls for cyber, drone attacks

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OTTAWA - Canada will add hundreds of new elite special forces commandos, wage offensive cyberwarfare attacks and deploy armed drones to international battlefields as part of its military response to new global security threats.

The hotly anticipated new defence policy review released Wednesday identified a wide range of harrowing and borderless threats, including the "grey zone" of hybrid warfare, ever-present terrorism and climate change.

The review anticipates that some of Canada's military operations will include government-sanctioned cyberattacks and drone strikes on foreign threats, and an increased role for special forces in overseas missions.

"Technology and the changing nature of conflict itself have fundamentally altered the landscape on which we operate," Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said as he introduced the review at a news conference in Ottawa.

The review said Canada's new, elite and futuristic approach to war fighting will respect domestic and international laws.

However, the very nature of the cloak of secrecy that envelops almost all of Canada's special forces, as well as the active expansion of fighting in cyberspace, will likely raise questions about transparency and civil liberties.

The policy increases the ranks of special forces by 605 people. They will get new airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance tools.

The special forces are made up of elite JTF-2 commandos and the Joint Incident Response Unit, which is responsible for responding to nuclear, chemical and biological attacks, a contingent of 2,000 in all.

There are about 200 special forces commandos deployed in northern Iraq on a mission focused mainly on training Kurdish fighters. However, Canadian special forces have engaged in gun battles in Iraq as they've ventured onto the battlefield for training.

In March, the government revealed that some of the special forces took part in the battle to reclaim the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIL when an undisclosed number of soldiers accompanied Iraqi forces in the city.

The review says cyberspace is becoming an increasingly hostile place with an increase of state and non-state actors posing threats, and concludes that "a purely defensive cyberposture is not sufficient. …

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