We are living in an unprecedented time, a time in which a virus has wreaked havoc and caused severe disruption in all facets of life. The coronavirus has put a halt to “normal” life as we know it. Workplaces, schools, events, restaurants, and even defence operations have all been curtailed. The economy has taken a severe blow that will negatively impact many in the foreseeable future. Life has changed drastically over the past few weeks – all due to COVID-19. 

COVID-19 has affected us in many similar ways but in some cases differently as well. How can we, as industry, leverage the lessons from this pandemic to keep the wheels moving? What measures do we put in place to battle those who are trying to take advantage of us digitally? How can we collaborate and work together in this self-isolation era? And how can we build and grow relationships during this time? These are all questions that we will try to answer in this issue of Vanguard magazine.

Dr. Robert Huish, Associate Professor in International Development Studies at Dalhousie University, writes about the need for greater cooperation during this time of self-isolation. He talks about how governments and militaries can respond to modern-day global health emergencies to ensure some level of economic and social prosperity while remaining vigilant against security threats. Some have suggested that a whole-of-government approach should be used to incorporate disaster management protocols from pandemic planning. But what does that look like, and in what ways could there be benefits and challenges with such an approach? Much like a natural disaster, it is crucial in a pandemic for governments to have a clear sense of knowing who will do what, when, and with what resources.  

Will COVID-19 be the catalyst to drive digital adoption in government and military? Mike Stone, Global Chair of Defense and National Security & Global Head of Technology for KPMG writes how previous disasters have not made a lasting fundamental impact on the way people work, interact, shop, travel, and learn. But coronavirus does and demands that governments, industries, and the militaries break down their institutional and technical barriers. Data silos and systems that don’t talk to each other means that potentially useful data is inaccessible. The more connected an organization, the more efficient and effective it can be post-disaster in its response, resilience, recovery, and new reality phases.

Is COVID-19 a threat to national security or a nation’s stability? Could it expose opportunities for non-military, coercive tactics in the wake of its devastation? Not really, writes Vanguard Columnist Valarie Findlay. That could only happen if a nation was unprepared. 

When faced with emergencies, how do the military, law enforcement, and other security institutions confront, work, and prevail through crises? LGen Stu Beare (Ret’d), a former Commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command and a 36-year military veteran, shares a battle rhythm to be used during these times. It’s about setting aside time to take care of certain things in our routine. He gives some pointers on establishing a new personal and work battle rhythm, one suited for these times until a new normal emerges.

Lastly, I know we have been inundated with COVID-19 news, but other things are happening within the defence industry. In this issue, we cover training and simulation with an emphasis on the Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Program. We were privileged once again to have the opportunity to speak with Col PJW Saunders, Director Air Simulation and Training, Royal Canadian Air Force about the FAcT program and to get a better understanding of this complex and extensive industry-managed program for the future of the RCAF.

I hope you enjoy reading this issue. Stay safe!