In May of this year I sent an email to Peter MacKay, Canada’s Minister of National Defence, to enquire about Canada’s involvement in the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence (CCD) Centre of Excellence (COE):
As a Canadian security expert and patriotic Canadian citizen I would like to know how Canada will be involved in the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence (CCD) Centre of Excellence (COE) (*http://www.nato.int/docu/update/2008/05-may/e0514a.html). I think that the Canadian security community should be leveraged to display our expertise in this field. Please let me know.
With Canada’s history of long history of NATO involvement I would have thought Canada would have jumped at the opportunity to participate. If asked by my government I would have also jumped at the opportunity. Alas, my country does not want to be involved in this particular project:
Dear Mr. Hay:
Thank you for your e-mail concerning the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence.
The Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces, Major-General Ants Laaneots, invited the Canadian Forces to participate in the establishment of the Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence to be opened in Tallinn in 2008. Major-General Laaneots asked if Canada would consider being a sponsoring nation for the Centre and designate a staff officer or defence scientist to be involved with the Centre, as well as provide some funding for project costs.
It is clear that cyber attack is an emerging and significant security threat. However, owing to competing priorities and pressing operational requirements, Canada was not in a position to accept the offer to be a sponsoring nation. Nevertheless, Canada is willing to share information on our cyber-defence programs with Estonia and the Centre of Excellence.
Thank you again for taking the time to write.
Peter G. MacKay
Minister of National Defence
This is truly a shame. This was an opportunity for Canada to participate in a NATO initiative that meant something more than large meetings and mass naval maneuvers in the Caribbean. For shame Canada…am I the only one who regards the proliferation of cyber attack capabilities as a threat to national security?