During this unprecedented time, many things that we have taken for granted are no longer the “norm”. One, for instance, is events. Across all industries, events or conferences have been a mainstay to keep people connected. It has served as a means for networking, collaboration, and sharing of knowledge in a face-to-face environment. But then came COVID-19, and all of this changed, pushing the necessity of moving events to an online format. 

Vanguard, as you may know, has been producing events for almost 10 years, serving the defence and security communities with relevant and timely conferences. So, with this new “norm”, we were faced with the challenge of moving our events online. As one of the first in the industry to move to the virtual format, Vanguard has successfully produced the first-ever underwater event last October (Deep Blue Forum), and more recently, C4ISR and Beyond. Both of these events received positive reviews, providing an immerse environment for attendees to experience virtually what we normally would have during in-person events. 

Due to the enormous success of these virtual events, we are excited to announce a partnership with another events platform to bring you more features that will enhance networking, sharing of information, and collaboration. This new events platform, EventsHuddle, will be used for our upcoming ShipTech Forum on February 25 and 26 and the new DX Summit that we will be launching in May. Be sure to join us for these events.

In laying the groundwork for ShipTech Forum 2021, we have dedicated space in this issue to the naval domain. The leading piece in this edition is an interview with Capt(N) Douglas Campbell, Director Naval Major Capital Projects, Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). The RCN is poised to be the recipient of a set of new, modern naval vessels that will provide Canada with the power of a world-class navy. Major projects like the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), the Joint Support Ship (JSS), and the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) are at various stages in the procurement cycle. But to a layman, the Canadian Armed Forces procurement cycle can be overwhelming and difficult to understand. In this interview, Capt(N) Campbell provides a simplistic view of procurement, the delivery of ships, project costs and schedules, naval requirements, and how industry can assist Canada with the delivery of future naval fleets. 

In this issue, we take a look back at how CSC has arrived at this moment by offering a perspective from RAdm Ian Mack (Ret’d), who was involved in this project. In this article, he writes about the launch of the National Shipbuilding Strategy, the Statement of Requirements for a warship, the different attributes of the procurement process, the use of transparency and benchmarking, and how this is no small task for Canada. In continuing in the same vein of CSC, another article, Eyes to the Future – Use Cases and Warships unpacks some of the capability development processes for CSC and shows how the RCN is leveraging “use cases”, an innovation tool used by an increasing number of organizations in the commercial high technology sector, to achieve the best solutions for the RCN and its warships. 

In our cover story, regular contributor and Vanguard Editorial Board member Col Pierre Leblanc (Ret’d) writes about search and rescue in the Arctic. He provides an overview of what Canada is implementing to improve search and rescue operations. Through the deployment of increased assets and new sophisticated systems currently and over the next coming, Canada is set to significantly increase the effectiveness of search and rescue operations in the Arctic.

In closing, I would like to draw your attention to our Game Changers: Abir Kazan, Capture Manager at SkyAlyne, and Stan Schneider, Chief Executive Officer at Real-Time Innovations (RTI). These two executives are helping to change the game within their respective fields. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue.