ARCHIVED - Speaking Notes for The Honourable Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence for LCSS Announcement

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Minister's Speech / March 9, 2009

Ottawa, Ontario

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Minister Paradis,

President of General Dynamics Canada (TBC),

President of Thales Canada Inc (TBC),

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Introduction

Good morning.

I’m delighted to join Minister Paradis for this very important announcement regarding an absolutely crucial component for the Canadian military.

Today’s announcement demonstrates that the Government is seriously committed to delivering the right equipment for the Canadian Forces, while also providing benefits for the Canadian economy.

The contracts we are announcing today constitute a significant milestone in the evolution of one of the Canadian Forces’ most vital tools: the Land Command Support System – or LCSS.

What is the Land Command Support System

The Government of Canada is proud to partner with General Dynamics Canada and Thales Canada for this key initiative in support of our military’s land forces.

In today’s operations, the Canadian Forces face what is truly a multidimensional battlespace

This is a far cry from years ago when a map of surrounding hills, a few transparent overlays and grease pencils helped provide a picture of the battlefield.

Today’s operational environment is complex.  And it requires technology to process information from a number of different sources in a timely manner.

Modern operations not only involve targets, but also a complex array of civilians, local authorities, aid workers, diplomats and allied forces.

This is the complicated environment that our soldiers must operate in -- and the LCSS allows them to have as clear a view as possible of the contemporary battlespace.  

It brings together the right mix of equipment and software to support the army’s command and control, communications and computing architecture.

It connects -- it pulls together a variety of functions such as radio communications, in-theatre force positioning and surveillance and reconnaissance sensors to create something that, to us civilians, would be best described as the army’s battlefield Internet.

It integrates -- it weaves a whole set of command and control data and applications, along with intelligence analysis capability.

And it evolves -- it is a capability that adjusts to circumstances, differs between operating theatres, and changes with each troop rotations.

The LCSS is essential for our soldiers as it gives them that rapid connectivity that is so crucial on today’s battlefields.

It brings the army's parts and senses to the fingertips of the commanders and the decision makers in headquarters.

In Afghanistan, for instance, Canadian soldiers use it to effectively plan, command and control a patrol in the Kandahar region, to locate enemy combatants, and to jam remotely-controlled improvised explosive devices.

It’s a system that ultimately helps protect our men and women in uniform as they go about the demanding tasks that we, as a country, ask of them.

It enhances our military’s ability to conduct successful missions.

And it saves lives.

This is critical.

Because today's operations are complex and they are multifaceted.

The enemy simply doesn’t line up on a battlefield chosen by both camps anymore.

It hides in mountains.

It conceals itself within large populations in urban areas.

Or it manoeuvres.

That's why our soldiers need the LCSS – to give them the information they need …

… to better see, better hear, better analyze and better comprehend exactly what is going on around them.

They need the LCSS to be state-of-the-art: built around the best equipment and the most up to date software and communication systems.

The two contracts that Minister Paradis and I are here to announce will help us do just that, and help deliver our military the LCSS they require.

These are long-term contracts -- both for five years with options to renew the contract to a potential total of ten years.

This will provide stability in how we design, develop and sustain the LCSS, with General Dynamics Canada supplying engineering and integration support, and Thales Canada providing software support of the system.

The expertise and capability of these two companies will prove indispensable in maintaining the superior quality of the LCSS over the long term.

CFDS

Ladies and gentlemen, this announcement is part of the Government’s larger effort to ensure that the Canadian Forces have the capabilities they need – the Canada First Defence Strategy.

The CFDS is a comprehensive plan based on long-term, predictable funding to expand the Canadian Forces and rebuild them into a first-class, modern military.

And it is allowing us to invest across the four pillars that form the basis of military capabilities: personnel, equipment, readiness and infrastructure.

Besides being good news for the Canadian Forces, the Canada First Defence Strategy is good news for the Canadian economy.

And that means good news for Canadians.

The Canada First Defence Strategy represents a major opportunity for Canada’s industry.

It will help companies from across Canada establish solid foundations and better position themselves to continue to develop the top quality defence products and services our military needs – like the LCSS.

Conclusion

Ladies and gentlemen, the Government is committed to providing our military with the right equipment.

Whether they are flying over the Arctic, patrolling the dusty streets of Kandahar, or sailing to the Far East, the Canadian Forces deserve the best possible tools.

And that’s exactly what we will give them.

The right kit while also exercising rigorous stewardship of taxpayers’ money…

… And leading fair, open, transparent and competitive procurement processes.

Canadians -– and your Canadian Forces -– deserve no less.

Thank you.

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