Key Risks: Things that Could Affect Our Ability to Achieve Our Plans and Results

As articulated in the section on our operating context, National Defence is influenced by a wide range of external and internal factors, both domestic and international, that have an impact on how we carry out our mandate. These factors present both risks and opportunities, which are taken into account as we deliver on our roles and responsibilities.

Key risks are identified by aggregating risk information from internal and external sources, and considering it in the context of our mandate. Our key risks are articulated in Defence Plan 2016-2019 as follows:

  • Defence readiness;
  • Defence Team capacity;
  • Strategic resilience;
  • Capability delivery;
  • Integrated information management / information technology;
  • Financial controls and reporting of inventory and assets; and
  •  Security

A number of controls are in place to respond to these risks. Response strategy initiatives covered in this report are outlined in the table below. We will continue to monitor emerging issues, developments and trends to anticipate and mitigate the risks associated with them. In doing so, we will remain prepared to respond and provide the Government of Canada with advice and options underpinned by ready forces and capabilities.

Key Risks

RisksRisk response strategyLink to programsLink to Programs

Defence Readiness

There is a risk that National Defence will not have sufficient force elements of appropriate readiness to respond to concurrent missions or sequential missions before reconstitution is complete. This includes missions that are planned in advance, as well as responses to unexpected events, which by their nature are unpredictable in time, number, location and effect.

Continue to evolve the CDS Force Posture and Readiness Directive to ensure annual readiness levels keep pace with changing domestic and international environments.

In response to the evolving CDS Force Posture and Readiness Directive, continue to conduct a comprehensive Joint Managed Readiness Programme that ensures the CAF is prepared to support the Government of Canada’s domestic and international commitments.

Ensure the Joint Managed Readiness Programme evolves to enhance Canadian sovereignty and matches Canada’s commitments to its allies and other international partners. This includes the implementation of a comprehensive exercise programme that incorporates an objective validation process and an institutionalized lessons learned feedback mechanism.

3.0
5.0
Ensuring CAF Posture and Readiness
Force Posture and Readiness status will identify any currency issues that could impede collective mission readiness for any assigned task and mitigating action can be taken. 3.0 Ensuring CAF Posture and Readiness

Defence Team Capacity

There is a risk that National Defence will not have the right number of personnel with the right competency, at the right place, and at the right time, which may affect its capability to fulfill current or future Government of Canada and National Defence expectations.

Develop and operationalize an integrated DND/CAF Human Resources Strategy to align current and future workforce requirements with Defence priorities, and ensure resources are strategically and effectively placed within the organization to ensure the Defence Team continues to support and execute operations, is postured to implement emerging capabilities, and is shaped to exploit future capabilities and pre-empt future threats. 4.0
5.0
6.0
Strengthening the Defence Team
Develop and implement recruiting and retention initiatives and carefully manage recruiting efforts to achieve Government of Canada mandated personnel levels. This will strengthen the CAF Regular and Reserve workforce and ensure it is representative of Canada’s diverse population and reflects Canadian values. 4.0
6.0
Strengthening the Defence Team
Continue to execute the Multi-Year Establishment Plan to more effectively manage the CAF as it transforms to meet new and emerging challenges. 4.0 Strengthening the Defence Team
Conduct a comprehensive review of Primary Reserve employment to be prepared to respond to future Government of Canada direction on strengthening the Reserves and ensure reserve forces more effectively support National Defence efforts. 5.0 Strengthening the Defence Team
Continually monitor training and education, health care and other military personnel functions to find appropriate efficiencies that can be re-invested in supporting our personnel. 4.0
5.0

Strengthening the Defence TeamEnsuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability

Transform practices and procedures involving the management of the civilian workforce to provide the flexibility to invest civilian growth in new and emerging areas and increase efficiencies. This will further support diversity across the civilian workforce and ensure it is reflective of Canada’s population. A progressive and respectful environment will be promoted that all Canadians can be proud of and that maximizes opportunities for our civilian members, 6.0

Strengthening the Defence Team

Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability

Ensure CAF members have ready access to quality health care, including mental health support services that are delivered in an effective and efficient manner with enhanced digital health capabilities, in order to return our members to duty as quickly as possible and support them and their families. For those unable to return to duty, Defence will work closely with Veterans Affairs Canada, other government departments and non-government organizations, to enable a seamless transition that ensures our members’ continued care and maximizes their opportunity for future success. 4.0 Strengthening the Defence Team

Strategic Resilience

There is a risk that unexpected events may change the strategic picture such that it requires significant changes to the strategic level of resource planning and result in disruption to National Defence’s business operations.

Continue to develop and implement improved program oversight and reporting to strengthen governance, and the management and planning of resources. 2.0
4.0
5.0
6.0
Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability

Capability Delivery

There is a risk that policy and the resultant complexity of development, programme approval and procurement processes will prevent National Defence from meeting its investment targets in critical physical assets (equipment, physical and information infrastructure and real property) in a timely, sustainable and affordable manner to enable CAF operations. This risk is about failing to close gaps, or preventing gaps in capabilities which may lead to future mission failure.

Continuously improve and implement a long-term, holistic, affordable investment plan portfolio and corporate submissions process in a focused, deliberate manner to streamline the project submission and approval process, and ensure the delivery of equipment and advancement of projects vital to establishing future departmental and CAF capabilities.Develop and implement a long-term, holistic, affordable investment plan portfolio by using processes such as the Capital Investment Programme Plan Review, which provides leadership with the opportunity to review and adjust capital investment decisions on a regular basis.

4.0
5.0
6.0
Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability
Implement a structure and process for the governance of acquired goods and services investments, to be captured in the Investment Plan 2017, to enhance corporate oversight, long-term affordability and resource allocation. 6.0 Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability
Implement transformation process improvement initiatives, including the Defence Procurement Strategy and Third Party Review (Independent Review Panel), to improve capital project acquisitions and support to existing fleets; ensure alignment of internal resource governance bodies with Treasury Board requirements; and strengthen the governance structure of the Investment Plan. 4.0 Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability
Enhance collaborative partnerships with internal stakeholders to modify project approval processes and use other government instruments to ensure that rationalization and prioritization efforts for physical asset investment targets are supported. 4.0 Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability

Integrated Information Management / Information Technology

There is a risk to National Defence if it does not take advantage of emerging technology to further an integrated IM/IT infrastructure that can provide a flexible and agile information environment conducive to efficient interoperable joint CAF operations and executive decision making, while achieving value for money and demonstrating sound stewardship. Failure to do so could also imperil the Command and Control (C2) of CAF operations at home and abroad as well as the effective management of the defence enterprise.

Work with Shared Services Canada (SSC) to ensure that National Defence’s unique capabilities and priorities are captured as part of the business arrangement document being drafted by SSC and its partners. 4.0 Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence
Provide an integrated and effective IM and IT environment in support of all Defence operations. 4.0
5.0
6.0

Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence

Strengthening the Defence Team

Deliver multiple capabilities in support of C2 and operations. 1.0
4.0
Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence
Implement a foundational business intelligence and analytics infrastructure scalable to meet future needs. 4.0 Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability
Support Government of Canada and Defence transformation initiatives. 4.0
6.0
 

Financial Controls and Reporting of Inventory and Assets

There is a risk that without the proper financial processes and controls in place, the financial reporting of inventory and capital assets in the Public Accounts of Canada and the Departmental Financial Statements may not accurately reflect the true value of the Department’s asset holdings which may result in a loss of confidence in the Department.

Enhance materiel accountability by implementing modern, effective inventory controls, supply chain management and inventory valuation in order to support existing fleets as efficiently as possible. 4.0
6.0
Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability
Building on the work completed to date, continue to implement an effective risk-based system of internal controls that is properly maintained, monitored and reviewed that complies with the TB Policy on Internal Control, thereby ensuring accurate financial reporting of inventory and capital assets in the Public Accounts of Canada. 6.0 Ensuring Defence Resource Stewardship and Affordability

Security

There is a risk that some elements of the Defence Security Program are insufficient to assure the protection of all assets and the continuity of critical services in support of readiness, capacity and operational capability.

Continue to implement the Departmental Security Plan in order to identify and manage critical security risks, help ensure operational success and safeguard information and assets. 4.0 Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence
Implement the Performance and Evaluation program to measure and report the effectiveness of the Defence Security Program. 4.0 Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence
Continue to make progress on resolving IM/IT security risks by establishing IT Security governance integrated with the Defence Security Program to reduce security risks to a level that offers sufficient protection of sensitive information, meets baseline IT security requirements and prevents unauthorized disclosures. 4.0
6.0
Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence
Advance efforts to develop a comprehensive operational framework for the conduct of cyber operations to maintain DND/CAF freedom of manoeuvre in the cyber domain. 5.0 Ensuring Sustainable Operational Excellence