National Defence funds University of Waterloo project to connect experts focused on defence and security

Monday, July 16, 2018

An affiliate of the University of Waterloo’s Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute (CPI), Bessma Momani, leads the winning submission for the Defense Engagement Program.

The submission, The Future of Canadian Defence and Security: New Challenges, New Perspectives, provides a network of external experts for the Department of National Defence (DND), connects and educates the next generation of experts, and helps to inform Canadians about the importance of defence and security matters.

“Our innovative approach uses technological tools to provide rapid responses by experts across a spectrum of expertise to DND questions, foresight analysis, and early warnings,” said Momani, a professor of political science at the University of Waterloo and the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA). “Using a secure online portal, DND can connect to a global network of knowledge in real-time.”

The network includes experts with strengths in: peacekeeping and the United Nations; Middle East, North Africa, and the Sahel; Diversity and well-being in the Canadian Armed forces; Canada-US defence relations; and cybersecurity and terrorism. This approach allows the DND to access a wide variety of perspectives on the issues through a diverse network.

In addition to crowdsourced advice and podcasts, the project will deliver a policy on Gender Based Analysis Plus, host a graduate student symposium and networking events, and publish information for scholarly and general public information.

Earlier this year, DND invited applications for a special grant to form a trial collaborative network of defence and security experts as part of the revamped and expanded Defence Engagement Program. The multidisciplinary trial network, led by Momani in partnership with Professor Brian Bow at the Centre for the Study of Security & Development (CSSD) at Dalhousie University, also includes the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); the Conference of Defence Associations Institute (CDA institute); the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies (LCMSDS); Women in International Security Canada (WIIS-Canada); OpenCanada.org; and CPI.

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