“NORAD Next” Initiative Continues, But Political and Fiscal Roadblocks Remain

The Ottawa Citizen reports on future plans for one of NORAD, a 1958 agreement crafted to protect Canada and the United States from then Soviet nuclear threat.  

While NORAD failed to get mention in Beyond the Border’s (BTB) first report card, its proof of the benefits that Canadian and American security cooperation yields.

But, as the Ottawa Citizen points out, it’s also showing the difficulty of today’s budget politics and the still unclear benefits of developing the Arctic region.  (Learn more about NORAD and the “NORAD Next” Initiative here.)

From the Ottawa Citizen:

The joint Canada-U.S. North American Aerospace Defence Command wants improved surveillance systems to keep close tabs on increasing activity in the Arctic, particularly in the region’s waters, according to documents obtained by the Citizen.

Although the installation of any new systems wouldn’t take place until around 2025, the final report on what needs to be done will be presented to top military commanders on both sides of the border this spring.

The “Norad Next” initiative aims to provide direction for the alliance in the coming decades and determine what threats North America might face. It would see “the future modernization of the Norad surveillance network to provide improved multi-domain coverage, particularly in the Arctic region,” according to a May 2012 briefing paper obtained by the Citizen under the Access to Information law.

In addition, there have been delays and problems with the Arctic-related equipment purchases and infrastructure initiatives.

National Defence had been expecting to take delivery of the first of its Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships in 2013. That, however, was delayed to 2015. But according to documents presented to the House of Commons that delivery will now be delayed until 2018, at least.

Plans for a naval facility at Nanisivik, Nunavut, have been scaled back because of the high cost of building in the North.

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