Editor’s Corner article

Requirements for military and public safety
CHRIS MacLEAN  |  Mar 15, 2011

Are the requirements for public safety, national security and military force converging? Gasp!

Watching the news on any given night leads me to believe that the various uniformed sectors that protect us (from ourselves in many cases) and keep us safe (from all manner of threats that I sometimes wish I was blissfully oblivious of), will inevitably become the next key growth sector. That is, if governments at all levels take their responsibility seriously.

Democratic nations may be examining their own primary roles in the face of explosive levels of world wide unrest. What may have previously been seen as an underlying, but low-level, role – that of protecting the safety and security of citizens – is clearly becoming a critical challenge that must be prioritized, and sufficiently funded, by all levels of government. Real threats, increasing in number and severity, pose risk to us all; pandemics and environmental disasters at one end of the spectrum, and drug violence, pirating, and terrorism at the other.

Along with funding, however, must come an absolute requirement for interoperability in every sense: communication, cooperation and culture. And how does that work? The answer might look simple: “All organizations responsible for safety, security and protection should work together to find sustainable solutions by sharing information and resources.” Insiders, however, know full well how impossible that would have sounded a decade ago.

Yet, however unimaginable it may have been back then, change is increasingly evident. Institutions that formerly competed now work in harmony, setting the stage for faster and more efficient progress. And who would have believed that Parks Canada and Canada Command would be at the same table, working together towards a whole-of-government approach to crisis management?

It seems only logical that security requirements will begin to experience much needed funding priority status over the many non-critical options being pushed by the more vocal special interest groups.

To achieve the level of security we feel we deserve will likely require all of the old public safety silos to be broken down. Though it was very slow to start, the momentum has picked up and progress is well underway.

That being said, citizens must also play their role by supporting responsible choices for the common good. Coincidentally, one of those key choices is before Industry Canada right now, as it weighs public opinion on the choice of offering the 700 MHz bandwidth to commercial bidders, or dedicating it to public safety needs (share your comments before it’s too late, visit our web site).
© Frontline Defence 2011