Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Shakeup at Defence Research and Development Canada

Defence Research and Development Canada hatched plans in late November to re-align the organization as it faces budget and job cuts in the future.

This was sent out to staff by the DRDC CEO and then it eventually found its way
to Defence Watch:

“A Science &Technology (S&T)program that supports the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence (DND) is the raison d’être of DRDC.

For that reason, as part of the transformation of the Agency, we are changing our governance and the way in which we align our business with the needs and priorities of our clients.

Key to this transformation is a change to the mandate of Directors General (DGs) at DRDC; I have now asked DGs to build S&T programs that will be closely aligned with the CF/DND needs.

In this new construct, which becomes fully operational on 1 April 2013, DGs will be required to focus all their attention on the formulation and delivery of the S&T program, rather than on the day-to-day management of the DRDC Centre for which they currently have responsibility.

To allow for the requisite planning to occur over the coming months and to prepare for this change, I am assigning a DG to each environment or sector of the CF and DND as follows:

Army                                                 Guy Vézina
Navy and Air Force                       Dale Reding
Personnel                                        Susan Truscott
CJOC                                                 Cam Boulet
CFD                                                    Maria Rey and Ross Graham

Support to decision making         Ross Graham

DGs will be accountable to their client and to DRDC for the formulation and delivery of S&T aligned with the short and long term needs of the CF and DND. DGs will be the point of entry for the client to all of DRDC’s national expertise.  Of course, employees who have working relationships with clients at other levels will continue these relationships.

And by way of background:

Documents leaked to the Citizen last year show that Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) is taking a significant share of the government’s cuts at DND; it’s budget has been slashed by 13 per cent and its workforce will be reduced by 15 per cent or 242 full-time jobs.

As a result of the layoffs, the defence science organization is stopping work on a bomb detection project at its Suffield, Alberta site. The Counter Terrorism Technology Centre at Suffield, which conducts research into chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive incidents, will also be scaled back. Some robotics work will be cut and commitments to research for public security programs will be reviewed.

Scientists at DRDC Ottawa will reduce their efforts in computer network security and support for radar system design work, according to the documents. Basic research into naval radar will be stopped.

In a statement emailed to the Citizen at the time, DRDC chief executive officer Marc Fortin noted that “DRDC is assessing the Science &Technology (S&T) program and carefully reviewing how we can conduct our business more efficiently. Program efficiencies were carefully planned by ensuring that DRDC’s existing S&T capabilities are focused on the areas of highest priority to our CF/DND clients and public security partners.”

Fortin stated in the email that DRDC’s research is “best aligned with the priorities of our clients. Despite efforts to minimize the impact on our personnel, these changes mean that we need to carefully chart the way forward for a leaner and more focused organization.”

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