Photo - LGen Stu BeareMembers of the Canadian Armed Forces and defence industry gathered at the Ottawa Convention Centre on Wednesday for Vanguard magazine’s first C4ISR summit.

The event was intended to encourage meaningful dialogue within the larger C4ISR community, from operations to requirements, simulation and training, and explore how best the Forces and industry could collaborate to meet those needs.

The event attracted over 140 attendees, and the plenary sessions – both streams so packed there was standing room only – tackled the numerous fiscal and technological challenges the military faces today.

Stream A featured talks on C4ISR in deployed operations, bandwidth challenges with SATCOM, Arctic C4ISR, and how to integrate northern assets.

Stream B featured a discussion on new and emerging technologies and network centric data availability in a crowded warfare space. It closed the day with an interesting discussion on the military’s interest in space, including GPS, surveillance, and cleaning up space.

One of the more interesting space discussions was Captain Paul Maskell’s talk on the Sapphire satellite. Sapphire works around the clock to track some 24,000 man-made objects in space, many of which are pieces of small debris. He also described some of the plans for Sapphire’s replacement, which is currently in the planning stages.

The topic itself at times generated spirited debate. Some argued that the term C4ISR is too broad to be of use; others contended that, while C4ISR may include everything from fire alarms to field walkie talkies, breaking C4ISR into sub sections would leave too much room for separate working groups to overlap in their jurisdiction.

The highlight of the conference was an energizing speech from LGen Stu Beare, commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, about the challenges of coordinating C4ISR around the world, including in the Arctic and elsewhere in Canada.

LGen Beare commended organizers of encouraging a dialogue that connected the people confronted with C4ISR problems in the military with the people in the private sector who could provide them solutions.

“There are lots of challenges in joint C4ISR, but there are opportunities as well – including within training and exercises. We welcome and truly appreciate what you bring and do to improve our capabilities in this critical area,” he said.

LGen Beare and John Jones, Vanguard’s publisher, presented the Royal Canadian Legion with a cheque on behalf of the conference speakers.