1. How can the CAF work more closely with other government departments and agencies, civil society organizations, and the communities in which they serve to prepare for and prevent the spread of infectious disease?
- Develop and disseminate Principles of Involvement that define what the CAF can and cannot do in Canada during the pandemic, both in terms of capability and legal restrictions, akin to rules of engagement but unclassified.
- This is a rare opportunity to demonstrate the work of CAF members to other Canadians. Doing it well may help in the post-COVID budget fight and boost recruitment.
The second part here is obvious and one which the CAF knows well--that this is an opportunity to remind the Canadian public that the CAF is there to help out in domestic emergencies and not just expeditions elsewhere.
2. How can the DND/CAF further leverage social media/digital applications for flat (vs hierarchal) communications?
- Develop a better capacity for virtual collaboration. Consider reforming security classification so that more work can be done over unclassified systems.
- The digital space is more than just a domain for cyber conflict with the pandemic revealing much confusion about not just how to analyze the data but whether the data is good. Need to recruit and train people with data analytics capabilities.
- Assess online training resources being used while much of DND/CAF is staying at home, to determine which ones work best, which features/designs get more engagement.
- No consensus on whether it is CAF’s responsibility to defend Canadian “cognitive” sovereignty. Who should be fighting against foreign disinformation campaigns aimed at public? More clarity needed from gov’t about CAF’s role in disinformation fight
When digital stuff comes up, the thought turns to cyberspace and cyber war. But another problem is simply knowing what is going on. Data analytics can help make sense of all of the information that is out there, and COVID reminds us that bad data collected badly can't inform good decision-making. So, we need to improve the CAF's ability to put the info together and make sense of it.
Never have so many members of the CAF had so much time at home during their working hours. They may or may not be using the online training materials. This would be an excellent time to figure out which ones work best, which ones are bad, and what features are most engaging. Because online training has been a thing for sometime. Speaking of data, there may be all kinds of data regarding these training materials--this data should be analyzed to improve the delivery of online training.
Finally, yes, the Russians and Chinese are filling the info battlespace with crap. Whose job is it to combat this stuff? DND? CAF? Other government agencies? It is not clear that the CAF should be the lead on this just because they have much capability. The government really needs to think hard about who should have which jobs in the disinformation fight.
We will be examining each of the questions and answers further through the spring and summer and produce a report with more evidence and explanation. If you have questions or comments, let us know.