Centre for International and Defence Policy

Centre for International and Defence Policy
Centre for International and Defence Policy

Between Deterrence and Assurance:

Understanding Canada's Role

11-12 May 2017

Kingston, ON

Program for Peace First Workshop | October 2016


This workshop gathered scholars, policy experts, and practitioners to assess the evolving role and force posture of Canada, the United States and its allies with regards to conventional deterrence, missile defence and nuclear deterrence. The Canadian Defence Policy Review (DPR) exercise which was carried out in the Spring and Summer of 2016 took account of the new security environment and corresponding deterrence requirement. During DPR roundtables and related events, there was a clear realization that deterrence was back in the Canadian defence policy lexicon. Even with Canada’s prominent role as part of NATO’s forward presence, it is not yet clear what deterrence will entail: is it a return to the Cold War or will deterrence in a more hybrid conflict environment be fundamentally different? What is the respective importance of conventional forces, nuclear weapons and missile defence in upholding deterrence and reassurance? This workshop tackled these questions by examining three main angles:

First, experts discussed how national and allied deterrence postures have adapted since the Wales Summit by comparing nuclear allies (the US, France and Germany) as well as non-nuclear allies (Canada, Germany, Italy).
Seond, the workshop assessed the requirements of both extended deterrence and reassurance, attempting to develop success metrics which would be tailored to the NATO context.
Third, participants examined how Canadian policymakers can craft policy and strategic directives that update deterrence, while avoiding a return to the Cold War version.

The workshop is co-sponsored by:

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