Centre for International and Defence Policy

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

Research Themes

Canadian Foreign and Defence Policy

Foreign and defence decisions and objectives always have a domestic context. In Canada and in other countries, policy outcomes are affected by economic interests, public opinion, strategic culture, and the defence procurement process. Canadian interests and values also influence the pursuit of foreign and defence policy objectives through alliances and organizations such as NATO and NORAD. Finally, Canada’s bilateral relationship with the United States has always had a major impact on the policy choices of the government in Ottawa.

Research Questions:

  • What are the key factors that influence the contours of Canadian foreign and defence policy decisions?
  • What is Canada's role in global peacekeeping, peace enforcement, and warfighting and how is that role shaped by both domestic and global factors?
  • How does strategic culture affect Canada’s defence policy?

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Regional and International Security

With rapidly changing security environments, constant analysis and research is required to inform policy makers, scholars, and students about regional trends. A number of fellows at the CIDP are engaged in research projects focused on regional security and regional transformation, ranging from the engagement of Canada in the Middle East and Asia to Iranian domestic politics and how these affect foreign policy choices in Ottawa.

Research Questions:

  • What factors contribute to regional instability?
  • Who are some of the emerging actors shaping regional transformation?
  • How do transnational groups affect regional security dynamics?

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Culture and the the Human Dimension of War and Military Operations

Culture reflects important assumptions, values, and aims that generate organizationally acceptable behaviours. It has been called “the bedrock of military effectiveness” because it influences everything an armed service does. Culture also affects research into the Human Dimension of War by influencing what questions can be asked, what research is considered “appropriate,” how evidence is gathered and interpreted, and finally what conclusions are deemed to be acceptable within a given culture. Fellows at the CIDP are at the forefront of analyzing how military culture is central to understanding the human dimension of war and military operations, particularly issues of physical and mental health, gender, combat motivation, and military personnel generation.

Research Questions:

  • How are gender dynamics, including the integration of women in combat roles, transforming military culture?:
  • How do combat motivations vary across different military institutions?
  • What factors affect trust within military units, and how does trust impact operational effectiveness?
  • What are the ethical, moral and legal ramifications of pursuing human performance enhancement in the military?

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Radicalization and Extremism

One of the dominant contemporary national and global security challenges is violent extremism and terrorism. Violent extremism is defined as encouraging, condoning, justifying, or supporting the commission of a violent act to achieve political, ideological, religious, social, or economic goals. The complexities of violent extremism need to be systematically analyzed so as to improve our understanding of causal mechanisms linking radicalization, extremism and terrorism, and to permit the development of effective counter-extremism and counter-terrorism policies, strategies and activities. Efforts to prevent the process of radicalization to violence have to be multi-sectoral, society wide and international if we are to prevent extremism from taking root.

Research Questions:

  • How can we reduce the risk of individuals succumbing to violent extremism and radicalization?
  • What are the assumptions about pathways to violent radicalization that inform their strategies and programs (outcomes, activities, output and resources)?
  • What are some valuable indicators of performance, success, and effectiveness of CVE programs, and what are the challenges pertinent to measurement and replication of program strategies and outcomes? 
  • What have been the societal perceptions and impacts of counter-terrorist initiatives?

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